There's a Goldman Sachs knockoff in China -- and of course it's tied to Macau

Multibillion-dollar investment giant Goldman Sachs has a copycat in China.

Goldman Sachs (Shenzhen) Financial Leasing Co., operating in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen, next to Hong Kong, has an almost identical name to New York-based financial institution, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

A staffer at Shenzhen Goldman Sachs said any similarity to the US-based bank was unintentional Thursday, weeks after a Chinese man was arrested for setting up a fake bank branch.

“We don’t have any connection with the US Goldman Sachs,” a woman who answered the company’s listed phone number told AFP.

“We just picked the name out, and it’s not intentionally the same,” she added, before hanging up.

A Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for the US investment bank denied any ties with the Shenzhen company to Bloomberg and said it was “looking into the matter”.

The knockoff company uses the same Chinese characters as Goldman Sachs does.

It was exposed by a letter sent by a US casino workers union to Chinese anti-corruption officials asking them to investigate the firm, Bloomberg News reported.

Even the letter’s font was evocative of the US bank’s letterhead, according to Bloomberg.

Macau ties

The letter that exposed the knockoff firm to Chinese officials alleged that it was linked to the family of Cheung Chi-tai, which controls a group of gambling companies, Bloomberg reported.

Cheung is a “prominent figure in Macau junkets,” according to the report, and has also been accused by prosecutors of having ties to “triads,” or organised crime gangs in China.

The US-based union has pushed before to have Chinese officials investigate potential organised crime and money laundering in Macau, the gambling hub of China.

The union also said a Hong Kong gold trader was heading the Shenzhen Goldman Sachs, according to Bloomberg.

Not the first fank bank this month

The news came after a 39-year-old man in eastern China was arrested earlier this month for setting up a fake branch of China Construction Bank, including card readers, teller counters and signs, according to state-run media.

Duped “customers” were able to hand over money to make supposed deposits into their accounts, but were refused withdrawals, reports said.

Enforcement of intellectual property laws in China is regarded as lax, with several foreign firms previously embroiled in court cases over imitators.

Basketball star Michael Jordan last month lost a case against a Chinese sportswear company that used the Chinese version of his name.

Apple Inc. paid $US60 million to settle a trademark dispute with a Chinese company that had applied to block the sale of iPad computer tablets in 2012.

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