Bao Fan, Banker in China Who Vanished, Is Said to Be Aiding Inquiry - The World News

Bao Fan, Banker in China Who Vanished, Is Said to Be Aiding Inquiry

China Renaissance Holdings said Sunday that its chief executive, Bao Fan, a prominent investment banker in China, was cooperating with a government investigation, weeks after the company had announced it was unable to contact him.

In a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the company said that its board had “become aware that Mr. Bao is currently cooperating in an investigation being carried out by certain authorities in the People’s Republic of China.”

The company said its operations were continuing normally. It did not say where Mr. Bao was or identify the matter in which he is supposedly cooperating. Chinese media has reported that the government called on Mr. Bao to assist in an investigation related to a former China Renaissance executive.

The latest news followed the company’s disclosure on Feb. 16 that it had been “unable to contact” Mr. Bao. The announcement sent the company’s stock price plunging and the stock has not fully recovered.

The disappearance of Mr. Bao, a major player in the growth of China’s tech sector, raised new concerns that Beijing could again be targeting Chinese companies and the executives who run them. Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, the Chinese government has been exerting increasing control over the nation’s economy and businesses.

The Chinese government briefly detained Guo Guangchang, one of the country’s wealthiest people, in 2015, and two years later arrested the Chinese-born billionaire Xiao Jianhua from his home in Hong Kong. Alibaba Group’s founder, Jack Ma, also disappeared from public life for a time after he criticized Chinese regulators in 2020.

Mr. Bao is a towering figure in China’s tech sector. He worked at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse before founding China Renaissance in 2004. He became an early deal maker for Chinese internet firms, like Alibaba and Tencent, which soared as the country’s economy opened up.

In recent years, Mr. Bao had adjusted his approach as Mr. Xi tightened his grip over the economy, echoing the Chinese leader’s rhetoric and working with a division of a state-owned bank.

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