In 1995, he was appointed head of China’s central bank, one of the nation’s most powerful financial posts. He stepped down in December 2002 to become the mayor of Tianjin. Later, in 2008, he was named head of China’s National Council for Social Security Fund. During much of his career, he developed close ties with senior Chinese Communist Party leaders, including Wen, who served with him on the powerful Central Financial Work Commission.
Big financial services companies also sought Dai’s aid in navigating the state’s tight regulatory environment. For instance, Ping An’s longtime chairman, Ma, kept a telephone directory with Dai’s name, as well as the name of his wife and son-in-law, according to records reviewed by the Times and an interview with a former staff assistant to Ma.
In addition, Li Chunyan (李春燕), who once ran Ping An’s Beijing office, last month said in a telephone interview that he set up meetings between Ma and relatives of Dai, including Che.
“I wouldn’t say I introduced them, but I brought them,” he said, declining to give details. “I’m just a small potato, you know.”
“I’m very familiar with the family of Dai,” Li added.
At the National Council for Social Security Fund, Dai began overseeing a huge fund that had acquired stakes in Haitong and Ping An.
In September, the government-controlled social security fund said it would allocate US$3.6 billion to a group of 16 Chinese private equity funds, including New Horizon Capital (新天域資本), a fund whose founders include Wen Yunsong (溫雲松), the only son of the prime minister.