Chinese Bank Says Missing Chairman Is Being Investigated by Authorities

Reuters
By Reuters
February 26, 2023China News
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Chinese Bank Says Missing Chairman Is Being Investigated by Authorities
Fan Bao, founder and CEO of China Renaissance, speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, Calif., on Oct. 25, 2016. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

BEIJING—China Renaissance Holdings said in an exchange filing on Sunday that its missing chairman and star dealmaker Bao Fan was currently cooperating with relevant Chinese authorities conducting an investigation.

This is the first time the mainland China-based boutique bank has given a reason for the disappearance of its founder—who was reported missing 10 days ago—though no details about the investigation were shared.

“The Board would like to reiterate that the business and operations of the Group are continuing normally,” the bank said in the exchange filing.

Shares of the company slumped last week after it said in an exchange filing the company had been unable to contact Bao.

The dealmaker’s disappearance is the latest in a series of cases of high-profile Chinese executives going missing with little explanation during a sweeping anti-corruption campaign spearheaded by Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

In 2015 alone, at least five executives became unreachable without prior notice to their companies, including Fosun Group Chairman Guo Guangchang, who Fosun later said was assisting with investigations regarding a personal matter.

Bao’s disappearance also comes against the backdrop of more than two years of sweeping regulatory crackdown on technology companies.

Bao, also China Renaissance’s controlling shareholder, started the firm in 2005 as a two-person team, seeking to match capital-hungry startups with venture capitalist and private equity investors.

The firm later expanded into services including underwriting, sales and trading.

Known to be well connected in the corporate world, Bao was involved with tech mergers including the tie-up of ride-hailing firms Didi and Kuaidi, food delivery giants Meituan and Dianping, as well as travel platforms Ctrip and Qunar.

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