The former chairman of Xinjiang Hops has allegedly been arrested after five months on the run. But the Xinjiang regional government last night could not confirm yesterday's report by the 21st Century Business Herald.
The report quoted regional government sources as saying Aikelamu Aishayoufu, 45 - the former head of the mainland's biggest hops and barley producer - had been arrested recently.
It contradicted a statement made by the top regional government official on the sidelines of the annual National People's Congress last Friday. Ismail Tiliwaldi said Aishayoufu was hiding in Canada.
Aishayoufu, a Uygur, worked for the Xinjiang branch of the People's Bank of China until 1996, when he left to start his own company.
In less than three years he went from a minority shareholder in Xinjiang Hops to its biggest investor. He disappeared in October, leaving the company with 988 million yuan in hidden liabilities.
His disappearance has been linked to last year's detention of Aman Haji, vice-chairman of the Xinjiang government.