HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group said on Monday a report claiming its billionaire chairman, Wang Jianlin, was prevented from leaving the country was “groundless” and that it planned to take legal action.
Taiwanese news site Bowen Press had reported on Sunday that Wang, who was with his family, was stopped from leaving Tianjin airport on Friday and had been detained for a few hours. It was not clear from the report if Wang’s family had also been stopped from leaving.
“That rumor first appeared in mid-August,” Wanda said in a statement, adding it “was scotched” when it was shown that Wang had traveled to Lanzhou on the same day. The statement said the news report was issued with ill intent.
Bowen Press could not be immediately reached for comment.
Wanda, which has spent billions buying entertainment and sports companies in recent years, has become a target in China’s clampdown on capital outflows, and sources say Chinese banks have been told to stop providing funding for several of its overseas acquisitions in order to curb its appetite for offshore deals.
Shares of Wang’s Wanda Hotel Development (0169.HK) slid as much as 11 percent but pared the declines and were down 4.6 percent by 0415 GMT. Bonds of Dalian Wanda group companies bounced back from early losses after the statement.
Squeezed for finance, Wanda last month agreed to sell 77 hotels to Guangzhou R&F Properties (2777.HK) for 19.9 billion yuan ($3 billion) and 91 percent equity in 13 tourism projects to Sunac China (1918.HK) for 43.8 billion yuan.
It also said last week it had scrapped plans to buy Nine Elms Square in London.
Reporting By Clare Jim and Umesh Desai; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Muralikumar Anantharaman