April 14, 2024
Missing Chinese banker resigns after investigation

Prominent investment banker Bao Fan has resigned as chairman and chief executive of China Renaissance Holdings, after disappearing nearly a year ago under investigation by Chinese authorities, the company said on Friday.

Mr Bao, a banker who brokered deals for Chinese internet giants Alibaba and Tencent, went missing last February. China Renaissance initially said it had lost contact with Mr. Bao, but later said he was cooperating with the investigation by authorities in China.

Mr Bao’s disappearance signaled an escalation of Beijing’s crackdown on business elites as part of an anti-corruption campaign. That raised concerns about how far Chinese authorities might go to bring powerful players into the domestic economy, while increasing their control over its financial regulatory system.

In a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, China Renaissance said Mr Bao was stepping down due to “health reasons and to spend more time on his family matters”. The company did not disclose the nature of the investigation into Mr. Bao.

In addition to leaving his post as chief executive, Mr Bao has also resigned from the company’s board of directors, the company said.

“Mr. Bao has confirmed that he has no disagreements with the board and there are no other matters related to his resignation that need to be brought to the attention of the company’s shareholders,” China Renaissance said.

Before founding China Renaissance in 2004, Mr. Bao was a well-connected banker at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse. The firm invested in many of the country’s most successful technology companies and helped them go public in Hong Kong and New York.

Xie Yijing, who had been serving as interim chief executive during Mr. Bao’s absence, was appointed chairman and named as the permanent head of China Renaissance, according to the filing.

Before Mr. Bao’s disappearance, another China Renaissance executive, Kang Lin, was detained in 2022 by authorities as part of an investigation into his dealings before he joined the company.

China has targeted financial companies as part of its effort to rein in companies and officials in the name of strengthening national security. Over the past year, Chinese authorities have targeted and raided several consulting firms with foreign ties. In November, China’s Ministry of State Security said it was a “staunch guardian of financial security”.

On Tuesday, in an article titled “Ten cups of tea” on the ministry’s WeChat page — agreed to be called “for tea” as a euphemism for the interrogation — the agency outlined 10 actions it would take toward China. -Will raise suspicion under espionage law. Amendments to the law last year broadened the definition of espionage, raising concerns that workers at foreign companies could be incited to participate in normal business activities such as gathering information about industries and competitors.

Source: www.nytimes.com

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