Published: Sat, March 03, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

CEFC Chairman Under Probe: Purchase of Multibillion Rosneft Stake at Risk

CEFC Chairman Under Probe: Purchase of Multibillion Rosneft Stake at Risk

Shares and bonds related to CEFC China Energy plunged on the news, first reported earlier on Thursday (Mar 1) by Chinese magazine Caixin.

Ye, chairman of a private firm that has agreed to buy a almost $9.1 billion stake in Russian oil major Rosneft, has been investigated for suspected economic crimes, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Thursday. Shares in CEFC China Energy's listed subsidiary CEFC Anhui International Holding slumped as much as 10 percent, the maximum allowed, on reports of the investigation.

Both companies distanced themselves from Ye in separate stock filings.

Ye Jianming was taken in for questioning this year, said Caixin.

The Hong Kong company said its directors "noted there are press reports today about Mr. Ye Jianming" but stressed that he did not hold any directorship and is not involved in the management of the its operations.

According to Caixin, Ye Jianming has been investigated by government authorities.

Beijing has sought to rein in conglomerates whose splashy overseas investments have taken billions out of the country.

China Lianhe Credit Rating Co. said in a statement that it had downgraded CEFC Shanghai International's long-term issuer rating one notch to AA+ from AAA, and would be placing the company on a watchlist.

Ye founded CEFC in 2002 while still in his 20s and was considered one of China's most successful young entrepreneurs.

CEFC China Energy did not respond to an AFP request for comment.

A former Hong Kong official, Patrick Ho, who headed a think tank supported by Ye's company was arrested in November in New York City on charges he helped arrange bribes for the president of Chad and the Ugandan foreign minister.

CEFC was not identified in the announcement or the complaint filed in NY federal district court, but details in the complaint pointed to CEFC China Energy.

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