Apr 26, 2016

    Missing China chairman says he will be 'right back'


    THE head of a Chinese wealth management firm, who allegedly fled with more than US$150 million (S$203 million) in investors' money, surfaced in an online video yesterday saying he will "be right back", as police searched for him.

    Yang Weiguo, chairman of conglomerate Wangzhou Group, disappeared last week, leaving thousands of investors unpaid, the official Xinhua news agency had reported on Sunday.

    A wealth management subsidiary which Yang manages, Wangzhou Fortune, has experienced cash flow problems since mid-April, the report said.

    Wangzhou Fortune issued a statement last week saying he had vanished and it had reported the case to police.

    But in a video posted by the 21st Century Business Herald, he told investors not to worry.

    "Hello everyone, it's me," said a man in a suit jacket and open-necked dress shirt identified as Yang. "Don't worry, I will be right back."

    In a separate statement published by the newspaper, he denied any wrongdoing.

    Wangzhou Group has more than 100 branches in over 50 cities.

    The case is the latest involving alleged financial fraud to emerge in China as the economy slows, sometimes leaving investment firms struggling to pay out promised returns.

    Earlier this month, police detained more than 20 managers of the Zhongjin group of finance companies, including its head, at the airport as he apparently tried to flee the country on a chartered plane.

    Another wealth management firm, Shanghai-based Jinlu Financial Advisors, has also struggled to pay back investors, causing them to besiege its office in the commercial hub.