Jet Li to sue website for slander

Beijing - A lawyer's letter sent on behalf of actor Jet Li said he would sue for slander after a Chinese website said he had embezzled 300 million yuan (S$60.3 million) in charity funds meant for victims of last year's earthquake in Lushan, China.

The letter sent on Thursday to website disputed its allegation that the Shenzhen-based One Foundation, which was founded by Li, collected nearly 400 million yuan in donations, but disbursed only about 47 million yuan, reported website Netease.

The letter said no basis for M4's allegation could be found in its posting on Tuesday on Sina Weibo. It asked for April Media, the company which operates M4, to remove the posting, clarify the truth and issue an apology.

Following the letter, Li issued, as evidence, documents containing a fund management report on One Foundation. In them, he said the letter was his personal attempt to clear the air, as corruption is a legal matter.

"First, we must settle this, who really is at fault here?" he asked.

The letter came after he queried how he could have swallowed the funds if he did not have the power to authorise any money transfers. "Who can teach me how to do it, if I really, really want to embezzle?" he asked.

He said if One Foundation was corrupt, that would mean its 10 or more foundation's board members would also be corrupt. "These members have companies worth millions or billions. Would the 300 million be enough to be shared among them?" he asked.

According to reports, One Foundation also sent out its own legal letter threatening to file a civil liability lawsuit.

M4 had titled its Weibo posting "Where did our funds go?". It also posted a link to an article on its website examining donations collected and disbursed by 10 charity funds for the earthquake.

Reportedly, April Media had its roots in a website previously called Anti-CNN, started to counter alleged biased reports by the Western media.

This article was published on April 26 in The Straits Times.

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