China Huarong Asset Management Co. Ltd. (02799.HK), one of China’s largest state-owned bad debt managers, said its chairman Lai Xiaomin, who is under investigation for alleged corruption, had stepped down, Reuters reports.
In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange late on Thursday, Huarong said Lai’s departure “will not cause any adverse impact to the business”. It added that its shares, halted earlier this week, would resume trading on Friday morning.
Reuters reported earlier this week, citing sources, that a senior banking regulator official would take the helm at Huarong after China’s anti-corruption watchdog launched a probe into Lai for “serious discipline violations”, a euphemism for graft.
Huarong said Wang Zhanfeng, head of the Guangdong branch of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, had been lined up as the new chairman. Li Xin, chief supervisor of China Orient Asset Management Co. Ltd., would be named president of Huarong.
The asset management company hit the headlines this year after building up a 36 percent stake in a key unit of embattled private energy company CEFC China Energy which is acquiring a US$9.1 billion stake in Russia’s oil major Rosneft.
The investigation into Lai makes him the latest in a long line of top Chinese executives coming under fire as China looks to rein in risks in the financial sector, targeting riskier lending practices and high levels of corporate debt.
Huarong Investment Stock Corp. Ltd. (02277.HK) and Huarong International Financial Holdings Ltd. (0993.HK), which also earlier suspended trading of their shares, would restart trading on Friday, the two Huarong units said in separate statements.
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