INTRODUCING CELIA LAM: CCP ASSET AT SIMPSON THACHER
Celia Lam is the vital bridge between Leiming Chen, Simpson Thacher and the Chinese government.
• Since 1993, Lam has advised dozens of Chinese state-owned banks, telecom companies, and oil and gas companies on their mergers and initial public offerings.
• Simpson Thacher’s website proudly provides a list of her clients, which includes many of the most important companies in China.
• No other lawyer has been as intimately involved in CCP big business as Lam. In a country where loyalty to the regime is everything, that can’t be an accident.
When Simpson Thacher decided to expand its presence in China, it knew that an insider like Lam was worth her weight in gold. Chen’s connections made recruiting her possible.
• Lam has worked with Chen since at least 2005 when they both advised China’s Bank of Communications on its IPO, the first-ever Hong Kong listing by a Chinese bank.
• When Simpson Thacher opened its Hong Kong practice in 2011, Chen poached Lam from her previous firm, sayingthat he had worked with her “on numerous transactions in the China market” and that her “great skill and depth of experience” made her crucial to Simpson Thacher’s ambitions.
• By the time the 2014 Alibaba IPO publicly united Jay Clayton, William Hinman, Jack Ma and Leiming Chen, Lam was firmly in place at Simpson Thacher.
Even outside of Simpson Thacher, Lam is deeply involved in Chinese business. She is a Vice Deputy on the Takeovers and Mergers Panel of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, which gives her a direct say in the regulation of many CCP-controlled companies.
When Chen joined Ant Group/Alipay in 2016, Lam replaced him as head of Simpson Thacher’s China practice. Since then, Lam and Chen have clearly remained close, with Chen funneling Ant Group’s most important business to the firm. Remember, as Simpson Thacher is receiving all of this Chinese money, they are simultaneously paying millions to Hinman during his tenure at Clayton’s SEC.
• In 2018, Lam helped Ant Group raise $14 billion, fueling the development and international expansion of Alipay.
• In 2020, Ant Group picked Simpson Thacher to lead its $35 billion IPO.
There is little doubt that Lam and Chen are closely intertwined and have worked to aggressively build the Simpson ThacherAlibaba connection. For now, let’s dive further into Chen and look at how he has become integral to the success of the surveillance state that accompanies the digital yuan.