Li Ka-Shing, one of the richest men in Asia, poses for a photo op with then UC Berkeley Chancellor Roberet “Grinnin’ Bobby” Birgeanu on the occasion of the dedication of the Li Ka-Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences and the bestowal on the first-time visitor of the Berkeley Medal, the campus’s highest honor, given to those “whose work or contributions to society illustrate the ideals of the university.”
UPDATED: To correct value of donation [H/T to reader Judi Sierra!]
Back when we reported for the late print edition of the Berkeley Daily Planet, we wrote about the decision of the university to rename the building housing the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health.
When the school tore down Earl Warren Hall, the building that rose in its place was named the The Li Ka-Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences.
Warren was one of the university’s most famous graduates, and as chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, he presided over decisions Republicans are now trying to destroy, starting with Brown vs. Board of Education, and a wide range of rulings extending civil rights and ensuring that criminal defendants were fairly treated by law enforcement and local courts.
The building was named in Warren’s honor because as Governor of California he pushed through legislation mandating the creation of the first public health school West of the Mississippi and ensured its funding.
Only after we mentioned the irony of the name change did Berkeley shift gears, first naming a small part of an existing building after the late chief justice, then finally giving his name to an IT building, though in truncated form as Warren Hall, which abandoned the specificity of the earlier name.
Li Ka-Shing, repeatedly named one of the richest men in Asia, had never visited Berkeley before he parted with $40 million to get his name on a building at the university attended by so many of his compatriots.
He did, however, show up for the groundbreaking.
So how does he accumulate all that extra cash?
Well, the Panama Papers reveal that he was one of the many clients using the services of Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm specializing in helping rich people hide their money and/or the actual ownership of their businesses.
Li’s dealings with the law firm are among the disclosures of this report from Four Corners, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s premiere investigative journalism program.
Via Journeyman Pictures:
The Panama Papers: Secrets Of The Super Rich
It’s the shadowy world of secret international finance and tax avoidance.
“What we’re looking at here is really a parallel universe.”
This Four Corners investigation will reveal how the rich and powerful exploit the system.
“What this really says is a lot about the system itself and how broke the system is and how crazy the whole thing is.”
Our reporter Marian Wilkinson follows the money trail and it’s worth trillions of dollars.
“I was on their immigration stop list. But we’ve gotten in.” Marian Wilkinson, Reporter