Chinese billionaire investment bank boss Bao Fan has disappeared. His company China Renaissance Holding reported in a message to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that it could no longer contact him. The news caused the stock's price to fall nearly 30 percent by Friday afternoon. His family had been informed that the 53-year-old was involved in investigations, the finance agency Bloomberg reported. Bao Fan is the majority owner and chairman of China Renaissance Holding.
The company said it was not aware of any information suggesting his absence was linked to the group's business, which is continuing as normal. When asked by the BBC, the company left open how long Bao Fan has been missing.
Renaissance President Cong Lin was arrested in September. He was under investigation in connection with his previous work for the finance leasing arm of the state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank (ICBC), the Chinese business magazine "Caixin" reported. Both would have been close.
Under Cong Lin's leadership, ICBC Financial Leasing made a $200 million loan to Renaissance in 2017, which the company repaid a year later after its IPO, Caixin reported. The billionaire brought Cong Lin to Renaissance in July 2020 and made him president there. Bao Fan, a former banker at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse Group, is considered one of China's most prolific dealmakers.
In recent years, investors in the People's Republic have repeatedly been targeted by the authorities. According to Forbes magazine, at least half a dozen billionaires have temporarily disappeared after clashes with the Communist Party, some have returned, others remain untraceable to this day. In several cases they were suspected of being involved in corruption or tax affairs.
In 2015, for example, the founder of Fosun, the largest conglomerate in the People's Republic, disappeared for several days. In 2017, Chinese-Canadian businessman Xiao Jianhua was reportedly arrested by plainclothes Beijing police officers. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison in August 2022 for corruption. With an estimated fortune of around six billion dollars (5.6 billion euros), he was one of the richest people in China at the time. In 2020, Alibaba founder Jack Ma disappeared for three months after criticizing market regulators.