(Yicai Global) June 13 -- The chairman of one of China's well-known insurance conglomerates, Anbang Insurance Group, has been put under investigation, Caijing, a financial news magazine, reported on its website today.
Wu Xiaohui, chairman and CEO of Anbang Insurance Group, has been led away by officials last Friday, a representative of China's insurance regulator, China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), notified Anbang's top management last Saturday, Caijing said.
No further detail has been made available so far.
Anbang Insurance Group surprised financial markets when it snapped up New York's iconic Waldorf Astoria hotel from Hilton Worldwide Holdings for USD1.95 billion in 2014. The deal raised eyebrows at the time, the US media reported, given what the Fortune magazine called a company with a history of only about a decade and a domestic insurance market share of 3.6 percent in China was able to buy out such a symbolically important real estate in the financial capital of the US, New York. "Somewhat surprising suitor" was how the US media called Anbang's unexpected move at the time.
China's insurance regulator has been increasingly vocal recently, criticizing what it terms "barbarians," a reference to insurance companies repeatedly attempting to enter the real estate market in China and abroad. The investigation about the Anbang chairman comes against such a backdrop and at a time when China is trying to reform its financial markets.