Date
21 August 2017
Minsheng Bank chairman Hong Qi (left) has been appointed president after Mao Xiaofeng (right) resigned over the weekend. Photo: HKEJ
Minsheng Bank chairman Hong Qi (left) has been appointed president after Mao Xiaofeng (right) resigned over the weekend. Photo: HKEJ

Minsheng Bank president exit sparks graft probe talk

China Minsheng Banking Corp. Ltd. (01988.HK) president Mao Xiaofeng resigned over the weekend for personal reasons, sparking speculation he is under investigation for corruption, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Monday.

Mao, who became the youngest president of a major Chinese lender in August, was arrested by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in an investigation involving Ling Jihua, former head of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party central committee.

The non-state bank has appointed chairman Hong Qi acting president.

Minsheng said major investors have no plan to divest their stake but Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd., its largest shareholder, said it has no intention of taking control of the lender.

Anbang, backed by second-generation party leaders, holds 22.51 percent of Minsheng A shares and 5.18 percent of H shares.

Brokers including JPMorgan Chase & Co. said Mao’s resignation and its ripple effect will dampen foreign investors’ confidence in Chinese lenders.

Any sign Anbang will take control of Minsheng would drive away foreign investors and might be seen as a step toward turning it into a de facto state bank, putting pressure on the stock, the report said.

Translation by Vey Wong

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