January 22, 2019 / 11:11 AM / a year ago

China prosecutors order arrest of four executives at Huarong for alleged bribery

SINGAPORE, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Prosecutors have ordered the arrest of four senior executives at subsidiaries of China’s largest distressed debt manager, China Huarong Asset Management Co, for suspected bribery, prosecutors in the port city of Tianjin said in a statement.

Wang Pinghua, former chairman of Huarong Real Estate Co, Bai Tianhui, former general manager of China Huarong International Holdings Ltd, Guo Jintong, deputy general manager of Huarong International, and Zhao Zichun, deputy general manager of Huarong Guiyang Real Estate, were sought on suspicion of taking bribes, the prosecutors said.

Their cases are under investigation by the Tianjin People’s Procuratorate No.2 Branch, they said, without providing details.

Reuters could not immediately reach any of the four executives or their representatives for comment.

Huarong did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The prosecutors did not indicate whether the arrests were linked to a suspected corruption case of the former chairman of the parent company, Lai Xiaomin, who has been under investigation since April last year, accused of a long list of wrongdoing, from cronyism and taking bribes to the embezzlement of public property.

It was not possible to reach Lai or a representative for comment. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party’s anti-corruption body, in October released a video in which Lai expressed regret for his lapses.

More than 15 Hong Kong-listed, Huarong-linked companies saw their shares tumble last year after the arrest of Lai, one of the most senior executives to be brought to book in China’s anti-corruption campaign.

The parent company Huarong’s shares have lost about 60 percent in value since Lai’s arrest. (Reporting By Shu Zhang Editing by Robert Birsel)

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