China's police arrest former chief of investment bank Ping An Securities: Media

The authorities held Mr Xue Rongnian, who headed Ping An Securities from 2008 to 2011, on suspicion of insider trading in connection to two cement businesses.
The authorities held Mr Xue Rongnian, who headed Ping An Securities from 2008 to 2011, on suspicion of insider trading in connection to two cement businesses. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese police have arrested a former chief of one of China's top investment banks, according to reports, the latest move against leading businessmen in the world's second-largest economy following a market crash earlier this year.

The authorities held Mr Xue Rongnian, who headed Ping An Securities from 2008 to 2011, on suspicion of insider trading in connection to two cement businesses, respected business magazine Caixin reported on Friday (Dec 12).

Police in Anhui province took him into custody around Nov 20, the magazine said.

In 2013, China's securities regulator disciplined Mr Xue, following allegations that a company Ping An helped take public during his tenure had falsified its earnings, Caixin said.

The news comes as China tightens the screws on officials and businessmen in the financial sector after a market rout earlier this year wiped out trillions of dollars in market capitalisation, sending shockwaves across the globe.

The probes are part of a broader anti-corruption campaign that some have called a political purge.

Last April, reports said the Chinese authorities were investigating the former head of China's central bank, Mr Dai Xianglong, whose family members amassed billions of dollars through the purchase of shares in Ping An Securities' parent company.

The deal was detailed in a New York Times expose that also revealed that a company controlled in part by relatives of former premier Wen Jiabao benefited from buying Ping An shares.

This week, Mr Guo Guangchang, chairman of Fosun - owner of Club Med and of China's biggest private-sector conglomerates - disappeared from public view before the group announced he was assisting the authorities with a reported corruption investigation.