China Resources (Holdings)

UBS orders internal probe as banker is named in affair, graft allegations against state firm chairman

Hong Kong-based employee accused of helping high-profile businessman launder money

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 April, 2014, 11:07am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 April, 2014, 7:59pm

Swiss bank UBS has ordered an internal investigation into allegations against a senior Hong Kong-based banker, just one day after a Chinese journalist and whistle-blower accused her of having an extramarital affair with the chairman of a state-owned conglomerate and helping him launder large amounts of money gained from allegedly corrupt deals.

The bank's legal and compliance department has looked into reports related to Helen Yang, also known as Yang Lijuan, an investment banker based in Hong Kong, two sources familiar with the matter told the South China Morning Post.

A UBS spokesman said yesterday that the bank would not comment on speculation. Yang could not be reached for comment.

Yang's responsibilities at the bank include liaising with the bank's corporate clients, including some Chinese state-owned enterprises, the sources told the Post.

Wang Wenzhi, a Chinese journalist who last year publicly accused Song Lin, the 51-year-old chairman of state-owned conglomerate China Resources, of corruption, renewed his allegations in an online post on Tuesday, alleging that Yang was a "mistress" of Song's, and had helped him launder illicit gains.

Wang is a senior reporter at the Economic Information Daily, a newspaper controlled by China's official Xinhua News Agency.

Song quickly hit back at the new allegations. In a statement posted on the official website of China Resources yesterday, Song said he was "extremely indignant" at the accusations in Wang's online letter.

"These allegations are pure fabrication and vicious defamation," the statement said.

Song also said he would take legal action against the "rumour-mongers and libellers".