BEIJING, CHINA — Investment bank China Renaissance suspended trading in its Hong Kong-listed shares on Monday, saying the disappearance of its chairman meant it was unable to publish its annual results.
Bao Fan, the group’s billionaire chairman and executive director, went missing in February and was later revealed to be “cooperating” in an official investigation — sparking fears of a renewed crackdown on China’s finance sector.
The bank, which specialises in the Chinese tech industry, announced Sunday that Bao’s absence made it impossible to publish its audited 2022 results.
“At the request of the Company, trading in the shares of the Company on the Stock Exchange will be suspended with effect from 9:00 a.m. on Monday, 3 April 2023, pending the publication of the 2022 Annual Results,” the bank said in a stock exchange filing.
Chinese authorities have not given any details on Bao’s detention or the reasons for the investigation.
According to financial news outlet Caixin, China Renaissance president Cong Lin was taken into custody last September as authorities launched a probe into his work at the financial leasing unit of state-owned bank ICBC.
No further details have been shared about his case.
China Renaissance has become a global financial institution since its founding in 2005, with more than 700 employees and offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and New York.
The group has supervised the IPOs of several domestic tech giants, including e-commerce firm JD.com.
In 2015, Bao appeared on the Bloomberg Markets 50 Most Influential list, described as a “fast-talking” banker who had the ability to “arrange practically anything in China’s vibrant tech scene”.
Bao is not the first high-profile Chinese financier to fall foul of the authorities in recent years, with President Xi Jinping leading an aggressive crackdown on alleged corruption.
In 2017, Chinese-Canadian businessman Xiao Jianhua was arrested by mainland authorities, receiving a 13-year jail sentence for corruption last August.
Known to have close ties to top Chinese Communist Party leaders, the billionaire was reportedly abducted from his Hong Kong hotel room by plainclothes police officers from Beijing.