Months to marry and years to share as a Chinese millionaire

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Peipei Li and Luhua Rao got married with a Las Vegas fever in April 2016.

The B.C. the courts have continued to sweat the dissolution of their union ever since.

The former romantic and business partners confronted each other both in the civil and in the family. They claimed, claimed and accused each other of trying to manipulate both the Canadian and Chinese legal systems.

Three separated B.C. The judges of the Supreme Court have already assessed the elements of the case.

And this week, three judges of the Court of Appeal will review the saga again while Rao, a Chinese millionaire business man, attempts to undo the victories of the lower court of Li.

Who can solve this mess?

The Court of Appeal's actions focus on issues underlying the "multiplicity of judicial proceedings" that the couple launched in Canada and China – where Li sued Rao for bigamy and is trying to force her into commercial arbitration.

These are questions that concern both the B.C. tax payers pay the bill for the province's legal system and the couple that use the courts to resolve personal and financial grievances.

Judges at the B.C. Supreme and B.C. At the levels of the Court of Appeal it was asked to consider the saga of Peipei Li and Luhua Rao. (David Horemans / CBC)

What is the relationship between national courts and international bodies when the parties have ties to both countries?

Who should have the last word on this most messy of marriages?

And is it a judge everywhere that can satisfy both parties?

Surprise! Another wife!

The basic facts of the case are quite simple. Rao was introduced to Li – an office administrator – during a business trip to Canada in August 2015.

They married and even founded a company called LPP Properties to invest in Vancouver's real estate sector.

Luhua Rao claims that Peipei Li used $ 7 million to buy this house in the Shaughnessy neighborhood in Vancouver. (Google Maps)

Li is the sole director of the company and, although they are equal shareholders, Rao grossed $ 17.6 million while Li contributed $ 1,000 to the venture.

About $ 7 million was used to buy a house on the west side of Vancouver.

According to Li's version of events, he didn't know that Rao also had a wife in China.

"Towards the end of autumn 2016, the relationship between Ms. Li and Mr. Rao collapsed and relations between the parties became bitter," reads a statement of compensation presented by Li last summer .

"At no time before the relationship broke up, Mr. Rao revealed to Ms. Li that he had been married in China."

"Unfair tactical advantage"

It is at this point in history – almost three years ago – that Li and Rao turned to the courts.

He sued to recover the money he had sunk in their business relationship – failing to mention the fact that they had been married – and then sued him for divorce.

Luhua Rao and Peipei Li were married in Las Vegas in April 2016. They separated at B.C. almost since then. (Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun via Associated Press)

Eventually Rao wanted to stop his case, instead asking a Chinese arbitration court to rule on the matter.

A B.C. The Supreme Court judge accused Rao of "attempting to obtain an unfair tactical advantage" and ordered him to stop further actions in China.

Another judge canceled the marriage but did not hit Li's requests for spousal support and a division of property.

Rao will support reversing both decisions in Appeal Court this week.

A meeting in Hong Kong …

But it is not the end of the story at all.

Their posts in the Court of Appeal will still be warm when the unhappy couple will join B.C. The Supreme Court next week to discuss another complaint that Li presented last summer claiming that she and Rao met in person in Hong Kong in March 2018 to agree a deal with all the chaos.

In a lawsuit filed last summer, Peipei Li states that she and Luhua Rao met in Hong Kong in March 2018 to discuss a solution to their legal battle. (Anthony Wallace / AFP / Getty)

She claims to be in agreement that she would get around $ 8 million and that she would keep the house and all the remaining assets of the BVG Properties.

Rao did not submit an answer because he claims that if he did, Li could argue that he was recognizing the jurisdiction of the B.C. courts to resolve a complaint that he hopes to have handled with the Chinese arbitration.

Instead, Rao requested that the proceedings be suspended.

And also, he says, "that settlement agreement was never accepted."

Post scriptum Another cause

Oh, and another thing.

LPP Properties, the real estate investment partnership that Li and Rao formed when they were still in love – the one in which it is the only one at the head – presented a new lawsuit against Rao last week in search of $ 16 million plus interest for money that he would borrow from the company.

No response has been filed and no date of the hearing has been set.

In one of his depositions in court, Rao claims that he and Li spent at most 20 days together during the time they were actually married.

It is a fraction of the time that led them to separate.

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