January 31, 2018 / 2:16 PM / 9 months ago

Swiss prosecutors investigate Gategroup takeover

ZURICH, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Zurich prosecutors said they were investigating circumstances surrounding Chinese conglomerate HNA Group’s 2016 acquisition of Swiss airline catering group Gategroup after watchdogs raised questions about the transaction.

“Zurich prosecutors...are conducting a criminal investigation in connection with the public offer to buy registered shares of Gategroup Holding AG. We cannot share further details, for instance against whom the investigation is directed,” Prosecutor Peter Pellegrini, head of the white-collar crimes unit, said by email in response to a query.

He added that HNA was not the target of the probe.

The Swiss Takeover Board in November said it would contact relevant authorities after finding HNA gave partially untrue or incomplete information during the $1.5 billion Gategroup acquisition.

The regulator said the aviation and shipping group had failed to disclose that company executives held controlling stakes in the conglomerate and also gave incorrect shareholdings for the top two stakeholders in the Gategroup offer prospectus.

HNA said at the time that it had provided all necessary information and the Gategroup deal would not be affected. Sources close to the situation told Reuters last month HNA plans to list the company again. (Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi)

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