The syndicate is built on links forged during the cold war. It is largely the creation of a man known as Sam Pa. Though he uses several names, he was born Xu Jinghua. After attending a Soviet academy in Baku four decades ago, say people who have looked into his career, he traded with Angola during its civil war, which lasted from 1975 to 2002 and over the years was a proxy battleground for several outside powers, including China, America, Cuba, the Soviet Union and South Africa. Mr Pa is a private and rarely photographed person. His name appears in few syndicate documents. He is believed to exert control through Veronica Fung, who may be a member of his family. She controls 70% of a core company, Newbright International. The two frequently travel in Africa, using the syndicate’s fleet of Airbus jets. They are said sometimes to bypass customs.
They are in Angola, Guinea, and Zimbabwe, but surprisingly not in Nigeria or Sudan. From the information that is available, Chinese involvement in the Nigerian oil sector is fairly minimal, mainly because the industry is mature in Nigeria, and most of the stakes are already owned by European (Shell and Total) and American (Chevron and Exxon-Mobil) companies. It is harder to explain the Sudanese case. Read the whole piece here.