Sun, Dec 13, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Former Ping An Securities chief arrested: reports

SPIRITED AWAY:Fosun International chairman Guo Guangcheng — who is missing — is said to be assisting a probe into an ex-Shanghai vice mayor

AFP, BEIJING

Chinese police have arrested a former chief of one of China’s top investment banks, according to media reports, the latest move against leading businessmen in the world’s second-largest economy following a market crash earlier this year.

Authorities held Xue Rongnian (薛榮年) — who headed Ping An Securities Co Ltd (平安證券) from 2008 to 2011 — on suspicion of insider trading in connection with two cement businesses, leading Chinese business magazine Caixin reported on Friday.

Police in Anhui Province took him into custody on about Nov. 20, the report said.

In 2013, China’s securities regulator disciplined Xue, following allegations that a company Ping An helped take public during his tenure had falsified its earnings, Caixin said.

The news comes as China tightens the screws on officials and businesspeople in the financial sector after a market rout earlier this year wiped out trillions of dollars in market capitalization, sending shockwaves around the world.

The probes are part of a broader anti-corruption campaign that some have called a political purge.

In April, reports said Chinese authorities were investigating former Bank of China governor Dai Xianglong (戴相龍), whose family members amassed billions of dollars through the purchase of stock in Ping An Securities’ parent company.

The deal was detailed in a New York Times expose that also revealed that a company controlled in part by relatives of former Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) benefited from buying Ping An shares.

This week Fosun International Ltd (復星國際) chairman Guo Guangchang (郭廣昌) disappeared from public view before the group announced he was assisting authorities with a reported corruption investigation.

Guo had gone missing on Thursday, spurring speculation in Chinese media that he was helping with a government investigation. According to people familiar with the situation, Guo is assisting an investigation into former Shanghai vice mayor Ai Baojun (艾寶俊).

Reports that Guo could not be reached reverberated through markets, halting shares of many companies linked to his conglomerate.

Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co (復星醫藥) plans to resume the trading of its shares in Shanghai on Monday after its suspension on Friday, the company said in the filing. Fosun International, which also stopped trading on Friday, is to resume on Monday in Hong Kong.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

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