April 11, 2017

A group of Chinese political activists filed a lawsuit in federal court against Yahoo on Tuesday, saying the company failed to properly oversee a $17 million fund it created a decade ago to help Chinese writers, democracy advocates and human rights lawyers persecuted for standing up to the country’s government.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court in Washington, D.C., accuses Yahoo senior executives of turning a blind eye as the fund’s manager, Harry Wu, illegally spent millions of dollars on high-end real estate, inflated staff salaries and a museum documenting the history of forced labor camps in China.

According to the lawsuit, Mr. Wu, a veteran Chinese dissident who died last April, spent less than 4 percent of the money on humanitarian aid. The lawsuit demands that Yahoo replenish the trust, which has been significantly depleted.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of eight dissidents in China who said that the Yahoo executives who sat on the board of the humanitarian fund did not do enough to rein in Mr. Wu’s inappropriate and profligate spending. The suit was filed by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, a Washington firm that specializes in litigating allegations of human rights abuse.

“In standing idly by while it knew the money was being squandered, Yahoo abandoned its responsibilities to the fund’s beneficiaries, who have risked their lives speaking out for political reform in China,” said Times Wang, a lawyer with the firm.

The full article can be viewed here.

The April 11, 2017 complaint can be viewed here.