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Soho China CFO Probed For Insider Trading; Shares Fall 2.8% In Hong Kong

Soho China, the China real estate developer led by billionaire couple Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, on Thursday confirmed mainland news reports that chief financial officer Ni Kuiyang is under investigation by the police on suspicion of insider trading in the company’s shares.

“None of the directors or other senior officers of the Company is aware of the circumstances of the alleged insider trading and is not directly involved in the investigation,” Soho China said in a statement. “The relevant senior officers have, however, co-operated fully at all times with requests for information from the relevant authorities.”

As a result of the investigation, Ni “has been and will be unable to perform her role as the chief financial officer of the company until the investigation is completed,” and her duties have been transferred on an interim basis to the financial controller, Soho China said. “The directors are of the view that the Investigation has no material adverse impact on the business operations.”

Soho China’s shares lost 2.8% in Hong Kong ahead of the announcement to HK$1.40; they’ve dropped 67% in the past year after Blackstone, led by U.S. billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, ended talks to buy a majority stake in the business for $3 billion last September amid geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China.

Pan and Zhang are worth $2.8 billion on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List today.

Founded in 1995 Soho China owns more than a million square meters of real estate, largely in Shanghai and Beijing. Distinctive projects with architect Zaha Hadid, who died in 2016, helped to put the couple and Zhang on the global real estate map and turned the three into social media darlings in China.

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@rflannerychina