Chapter 6: Sold!
Translated by me, edited by Kai.
Diamonds are graded by four Cs. Carat Weight, Clarity, Color, and Cut. Of course, out of the four Cs, only two are important. One the weight. The so called carat is a unit for 200 milligrams, such that five carats is a gram. Then it is clarity, also known as transmittance. The remaining properties: colour refers to reflectiveness of the gem and cut is basically workmanship on the gem. These two are not as important since they can be changed, but the size of gem and it’s clarity cannot.
The diamond which Jiang Hai possesses weighs roughly six grams. This gem really is a priceless find. After confirming the legitimacy of the diamond, Jiang Hai had to take almost half an hour before he recovered from the shock. After hearing the diamond’s value, manager Zhang rushed over at the first notice. Looking at Jiang Hai’s appearance, he hesitated a bit before sitting down, and waking Jiang Hai from his daze.
“*cough*, Mr.Jiang, we have appraised all your items. I’m sorry for being presumptuous, but what do you plan to do with these gems? Are you going to sell them or keep them?” Manager Zhang asked seriously.
“Give me an offer for selling.” Hearing the manager’s question, Jiang Hai really had thoughts of keeping the diamond. According to the appraiser, it is a 31.6 carat pink diamond, by the ratio of 1 carat to 380,000 USD, it’s worth 1.2 million USD. Since this is a one piece, then multiply that by at least 20. That gives 240 million USD. Jiang Hai has never seen this much money nor has he ever thought of it.
240 million USD after conversion is 1 point something billion yuan. Although, compared to his wife, *cough*, ex-wife’s net worth of several billion, it is still far fetched. But do not forget his ex’s net worth comes from a commerce company, and his net worth is all in the diamond he has in his hands. However he is still clear of why he brought all the gems here; and that is to sell them, not just for appraisal.
“If you are looking to sell then I can give you two options. One, straight up auction. Your pink diamond, if put up on auction, will at the very least fetch you 240 million with a ceiling of around 4 billion. However this process takes time and effort. There is also the 5% handling fee and the auction tax of the country it was sold to which is around 20%.”
Hearing what the manager had to say, Jiang Hai’s first though was ‘this guy is trying to fool me’. Although he had never attended an auction before, he isn’t stupid. Specifically, in all those novels (1), no one takes a cut on the item, not even the auction house. But here, one fifth of the price straight up disappeared. Who’s this guy trying to fool?
“*cough*, you can look up each country’s auction tax.” Manager Zhang stated matter-of-factly as he handed over a form after noticing the doubtful looks Jiang Hai is giving him.
Comparing the tax cuts listed online to the ones on the form, Jiang Hai can’t help but be tongue tied. The taxes are seriously expensive. Well this can easily be explained. You’re selling stuff in other countries, who says they can’t tax you? And most importantly, there is also an export fee of 6% at the moment. Seriously, there’s taxes everywhere (2). According to the form, since Jiang Hai is a foreigner, he also has to cough up foreigner’s personal income tax, although it is not as heavy as China’s but it’s still not light. For example, England takes 24%, Australia at 27%, USA at 22%, with the lightest of them all at 18% in Hong Kong.
Of course there are cheaper ones, but they’re all third world countries and mainland China. Mainland China’s antique tax is 20% of the difference between the auctioned price and the buy in price or its original value, whichever is higher. If it is a family heirloom then its tax cannot exceed 3% of the appraisal price. This is really very little, but here lies the problem.
If an item is worth a couple of thousand or tens of thousands then no one will care too much, but when the item is worth over a few million, who says it yours? You bought ok, where is the receipt? You used credit card? When did you buy it? Who sold it to you? You say it’s passed down in the family line, fine, which one of your ancestors? Where on the family tree? Call them, will they answer? Thus where is the proof that this item is yours?
Therefore this item must have been dug up. As such it belongs to the country (3); and because of this, both Jiang Hai and manager Zhang both avoided the topic of auctioning on the mainland. However, Jiang Hai doesn’t want to cough up that quarter of his profits to those countries. Another problem is the time it takes to spread the word about the item. When he finally receives the money, a year and a half could’ve already passed.
“So what is the second option?” Jiang Hai asked the manager hesitantly.
“The second option is we buy the diamond. Since this diamond is worth at least 240 million, we’ll raise the price it by 30% and you don’t have to pay any fees. We’ll directly transfer the money as well.” The manager answered. Unknown to Jiang Hai, this is all just a semantics trap just waiting for him to willingly jump in.
Since this diamond can be auctioned for 400 million, they buy it at 300 million, then sell it privately. Considering the connections an auction house has, this is surprisingly easy. Especially selling to those middle-east royals, they definitely won’t mind paying 400 million USD for a diamond to play with, especially one of such a high quality. Just like that the auction house will make a 100 million in profit.
Jiang Hai can also sell it to private collectors, but, he doesn’t have the connections. People who can cough up 400 million USD, which is around 2 billion Yuan, can easily buy out 40% of his ex’s company. This also needs to be liquid assets. Obviously he isn’t on the same tier of society as them. More importantly, after he sells it, it’s rather simple for these people to go back on their word and eliminate him with little to no repercussions. Therefore this is a really hard decision to most people, but it’s really not that hard in Jiang Hai’s mind.
“330 million USD and it’s yours.” Jiang Hai stated after thinking for a bit. Seriously, don’t even say 300 million, even if it was only 240 million he would’ve still sold it.
Hearing Jiang Hai’s response, the manager was somewhat taken aback at how quick he made the decision. After leaving for a couple of minutes to confirm with his superiors, he came back and agreed. The process afterwards was pretty simple. Unlike a regular market where you say a price, pay up and leave, diamond transactions, especially when it is worth 330 million, have lots of legal documents to sign for both parties.
After signing several documents, the pink diamond is now owned by Philips Auction and Jiang Hai possesses 330 million USD. The next hurdle is how to transfer such a large sum of money. If going by the exchange rate of 6.3418 (4), then 330 million USD is 2,092,794,000 Yuan. If this much money shows up on his account then it would definitely alert the central authorities.
“This sum is kind of big, how about this, I’ll help you get an offshore credit card, then we can transfer the money there.” Said the manager matter-of-factly.
“Offshore credit card?” Jiang Hai asked with a strange look in his eyes.
“Yup, offshore credit card. We have very close connections to most big banks in the west. We keep some of our collection in our own vaults, but the more valuable needs to be stored in bank safety deposit boxes. That is also one of the safest places in the world.” Explained manager Zhang.
Afterwards, the manager starts to explain the different banks to Jiang Hai. There are many banks he can apply for, such as London’s NatWest group, America’s Citibank, America’s VISA, America’s J.P. Morgan and America’s American Express. Out of all of these banks, Jiang Hai has only heard of VISA, but he keeps getting recommendations to use either J.P. Morgan or American Express. (5)
There isn’t much to say about American Express. The world’s biggest travel service, business management, investment banking, and insurance company. They also posses one of the world’s strongest credit cards; the Centurion black. On the other hand, J.P.Morgan is the exclusive bank used by two of America’s biggest financial groups, the Rockefellers and the Morgans. They don’t usually branch out, since there is already enough stuff to do with just the two families alone.
Although Jiang Hai’s understanding of financial groups is rather small, but by being a poor person, he is born to hate financial groups. As such he decided to use American Express, which the manager went to arrange. An hour later, a black titanium alloy card with a roman soldier’s head on it landed in his hands. (6)
1. Ed: This is definitely a credible source… peer-reviewed (reader comments) LN’s or WN’s 😛
2. Hue, tax season, Hue
3. How to rob people 101: Country vs You, you fked son.
4. This is exchange rate at the time when the chapter was originally published. Current exchange rate is 1 USD – 6.6749 Yuan
5. Ed: What about swiss banks? They’re supposed to be waaay better… *cough* as I’ve heard other people say >_<
Tl: Swiss bank is usually used to keep the monies off the record
6. Veni, Vidi, Vici … though if I was given that much monies, I would Vidi, Vici, Veni :O