PICC vice chairman Wang Yincheng taken away by authorities as part of investigation, Caixin reports

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2017, 10:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2017, 10:50pm

Wang Yincheng, vice chairman and president of Hong Kong-listed People’s Insurance Co (Group) of China, was reportedly taken away by authorities for investigation on Monday, according to mainland financial media Caixin.

Wang, 57, a PICC veteran, was carrying out his daily work as usual until being taken away from the insurer’s Beijing headquarters on Monday, Caixin reported on Wednesday, citing sources it did not identify.

The report also said there had been a rumour nearly a year ago that he was under investigation. The report didn’t specify the reasons why he was under investigation nor did it mention whether he was assisting in an investigation.

The Patrol team of Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection noted in February, 2016 that PICC was discovered with irregularities such as lax oversight of overseas travels by senior executives, reckless investment decisions, transfer of benefits, and widespread nepotism at subsidiaries. It was not known whether these issues are connected to Wang’s disappearance, Caixin said. The report also did not say which authorities were involved.

Wang was known to entertain senior government officials and financial executives originating from Shanxi province, the report said. Ling Jihua, a disgraced aide to former president Hu Jintao, was also said to have participated in similar gatherings, the report said. Ling was sentenced to life in prison in July 2016 for taking more than 77 million yuan (HK$89 million) in bribes, illegally obtaining state ­secrets and abuse of power, state media reported.

Wang joined PICC and climbed the corporate ladder after graduating from Shanxi University of Finance & Economy in 1982. He obtained a doctorate degree in economics from Zhongnan University of Economics & Law in 2003.

A PICC press officer in Shanghai declined to comment Wednesday on Wang’s disappearance.

Beijing-based PICC is one of the mainland’s major insurance groups. It went public in Hong Kong in December, 2012. The company’s shares closed at HK$3.09 on Wednesday, up 0.325 per cent.

The company has subsidiaries covering life insurance, property and casualty insurance, healthcare insurance, insurance brokerage and insurance asset management.

PICC’s net profit dropped 37.4 per cent to 11.28 billion yuan in the first half of 2016. Its total assets gained 7 per cent to 902.28 billion yuan during the same period.

PICC is ranked 119th on Fortune magazine’s Global 500.