采访/田净 编辑/王子琦 后制/钟元
Property Company CEO Under Investigation, May Be Linked to Zhou Yongkang
The location of the CEO and chairman of a Hong Kong listed
land developer has finally been confirmed.
Guangdong-based Agile Property has confirmed that
Chen Zhuolin is living under monitoring
by the Chinese authorities.
The company has also been said to be related to former
Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang.
Agile Property continues to face troubles
after issuing a notice on Oct. 10.
It says Chen’s wife Luk Sin-fong told Agile that he’s been
staying in “a designated residence" since Sept. 30
under orders by the Kunming City Prosecutor.
However, the announcement didn’t give further details.
Agile also announced it would adjust it’s board list on Oct. 10.
The company transferred two non-executive directors to
help with the daily operations.
Chen’s wife and his brother Chan Cheuk-yin
will serve as co-chair and co-CEO, respectively.
While Chen remains Chairman and CEO.
As early as Oct. 3, Agile’s stocks suddenly suspended in
Hong Kong Stock Exchange with no reason.
Before that, there were rumors
that chairman Chen was missing.
China Business News reported on Oct. 13 that there are
several indicators that Chen’s investigation might be related
to Yunnan project transferring benefits to the local officials.
Although Agile said in its latest announcement it has applied
to resume trading on the Stock Exchange on Oct. 13;
the company has already suffered a major blow.
On the morning of Oct. 10, Agile announced the recently
scheduled HK$2.8 billion ($361 million) of the rights issue
plan has been canceled.
On the same day, Agile two dollar bonds prices fell sharply.
Several investment research institutions
rated Agile stock to sell.
Reports say many people in charge of Agile’s 60 billion yuan
($9.8 billion) project in Yunnan are also under investigation.
Frank Xie Tian, business professor: “The company might be
impacted politically if its assets and shares are linked
to one side of Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
senior level struggles.
Now, most investors might be hit by the loss.
The investors’ losing confidence is enough to pose a serious
threat to the company."
In fact, before Chen’s recent problems, there were reports
that Agile is linked to former Politburo Standing Committee
member and security czar Zhou Yongkang.
On Oct. 3, the Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan People’s
Rights Preservation General Association revealed
the shady deal in an online article.
A Hong Kong businessman said Zhou is the foster parent
of Agile chairman Chen and is the real majority shareholder.
The article also mentioned that Zhou Yongkang repeatedly
visited Agile while he was a Minister of Land and Resources,
and supported its forced enclosure in Zhongshan.
Related reports also say that Agile allegedly gave a villa
to the former Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang.
Hua Po, Beijing politics watcher: “Residential surveillance is
definitely a problem and the relationship between him and
Zhou Yongkang is also not groundless.
They mainly investigate Zhou’s fellow in Hong Kong,
[but] this is just speculation.
Hong Kong definitely has quite a few of Zhou’s people.
I think this is a deterrent. “
Until Oct. 7, Agile denied that Zhou is a major company
shareholder in a statement.
NTD reporters called the company,
but the staff didn’t want to explain.
Agile company staff: “You’d better read the latest news
because we are not clear about it."
Hua Po: “If this guy is involved [in the case]
I think it goes deep.
[His links with] Zhou would be real estate exchange.
Why do these businessmen bribe?
Working with China political system and environment,
how could they have made a fortune without bribing
and getting close to the officials.
So the key point is whether the investigated person
cooperates investigation to release Zhou’s secrets."
Speculation continues on the degree Zhou’s corruption since
he was investigated in July.
Many overseas Chinese media quoted Chinese online
forum posts revealing that Zhou’s family assets
are up to 100 billion yuan ($16.3 billion);
which is distributed in seven provinces and cities nationwide.
Some analysts say it may have been Communist Party insiders
who released the news about the Zhou family assets,
and that they deliberately leaked the news in advance
in order to set the tone at the Fourth Plenary Session.
Interview/TianJing Edit/Wang Ziqi Post-Production/ZhongYuan