China asks Interpol to help in chase for fugitive businessman

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 August, 2014, 12:32pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 August, 2014, 8:29am

Chinese authorities are working with Interpol to track down and extradite a fugitive businessman who fled the country after allegedly raising billions of yuan in illegal loans.

The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) issued a red "seek and arrest" notice for Liao Rongna , chairman of manufacturing conglomerate Zhengling Group in Liuzhou , Guangxi province, on suspicion of "illegally absorbing public deposits".

Liao, 58, is a native of Guangxi and was once listed as one of the country's wealthiest men.

He had an estimated net worth of about 1 billion yuan in 2009, earning him a place on the Hurun Report's Rich List.

The authorities are also on the hunt for Liao's wife, a former member of Zhengling's board of directors.

Liao's younger son, the former chairman of the company's board, was detained by Chinese police in June, Xinhua reported.

The Liuzhou public security bureau announced on its official Weibo on May 27 that an initial investigation indicated that Liao's company had illegally absorbed public deposits.

Since April, bureau investigators had found more than 1,500 contracts for 3.2 billion yuan (HK$4 billion) in loans, Xinhua reported yesterday.

According to the news website Liao founded Zhengling in 1982, and the company quickly expanded by buying a cluster of other firms in Guangxi, including a canned food factory, a glass manufacturer and a cement plant.

After acquiring 20 more state-owned enterprises, specialising in vehicles, engines, and other equipment and parts manufacturing, Zhengling Group was formally established in September 2003.

It was listed as one of China's "Top 500 private enterprises" that year.

The company was not immediately available for comment.

Liao is believed to have fled China to escape prosecution. He could face the death penalty if apprehended and convicted.