PE interest in misery-filled Chinese factory behind Romney ‘47% video’ leak


Mitt RomneyA secret video of Bain Capital founder Mitt Romney which helped derail his bid for the US presidency was initially leaked due to comments he made about working conditions at a Chinese factory he visited in his private equity days, it has emerged.

The video, recorded during a Romney fundraiser at the home of Sun Capital co-CEO Marc Leder, received massive media coverage over the Republican candidate’s claim that 47 per cent of Americans pay no income tax.

But the man who made the covert tape, who revealed himself yesterday to be bartender Scott Prouty, said he originally leaked part of the video to highlight US exploitation of poor Chinese factory workers.

In the recording Romney, pictured, said, “When I was back in my private equity days, we went to China to buy a factory there.

“It employed about 20,000 people. And they were almost all young women between the ages of about 18 and 22 or 23. They were saving for potentially becoming married.

“And they work in these huge factories, they made various small appliances. And as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with little bathrooms at the end of maybe ten rooms.

“And the rooms they have 12 girls per room. Three bunk beds on top of each other. You’ve seen, you’ve seen them?

“And around this factory was a fence, a huge fence with barbed wire and guard towers. And, we said gosh – I can’t believe that you, you know, keep these girls in.

“They said, no, no, no. This is to keep other people from coming in.

“Because people want so badly to come work in this factory that we have to keep them out. Or they will just come in here and start working and, and try and get compensated.”

He added, “The Bain Partner I was with turned to me and said, you know, 95 per cent of life is settled if you are born in America. This is an amazing land and what we have is unique and fortunately it is so special we are sharing it with the world.”

Last week it emerged Romney had made a return to private equity by joining his son’s Tagg’s Boston-based firm.

The Bain Capital co-founder has been named chairman of Solamere Capital according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited a letter to the firm’s investors.

Tagg Romney founded Solamere with former Jupiter Partners executive Eric Scheuermann and Spencer Zwick, who was finance chairman of both the 2008 and 2012 Romney for President campaigns.

Bain Capital is believed to be nearing a $2.5bn first close for its latest buyout fund, putting it almost halfway to its $6bn target.

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