September 1, 2015 / 8:32 AM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Man Group shares fall after report China head helping police probe

(Adds background, comments from Li's husband, updates share price)

By Simon Jessop and Shu Zhang

LONDON/BEIJING Sept 1 (Reuters) - Shares in British hedge fund manager Man Group Plc fell more than 6 percent in early trade on Tuesday following a report that the head of its China unit had been taken into custody as part of a probe into the country's recent market volatility.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that Man's China chairwoman, Li Yifei, was helping authorities investigating the recent sharp swings in the country's stock market, noting this did not mean she faced charges or had done anything wrong.

Chinese authorities have been probing possible market manipulation following wild gyrations in the country's stock markets , which have plunged around 40 percent since mid-June on concerns of a slowing economy and a surprise devaluation of the yuan currency last month.

Reuters has not been able to independently confirm the Bloomberg report and there was confusion in China on Tuesday as to what exactly Li's situation was.

Li's husband, Wang Chaoyong, told Reuters that his wife was having meetings at a convention centre in a hotel in a suburb of Beijing.

"She said she is fine, discussing many professional issues," Wang said. "Regulators often ask some institutions to have meetings. This is normal."

A spokeswoman for Man Group, which says on its website that it manages $78.8 billion of assets, declined to comment on the report or share price move.

At 0816 GMT, shares in Man were 6.3 percent lower at 151.5 pence a share, in a mid-cap index down 1.3 percent.

Li became Man's China chairwoman in 2011, having previously worked as the head of MTV China. (Reporting by Simon Jessop and Shu Zhang; Additional reporting by Nishant Kumar in London; Writing by Rachel Armstrong; Editing by Carolyn Cohn and Alex Richardson)

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