One of China's most powerful businesswomen has 'disappeared' the day after a Chinese journalist appeared on state television confessing to causing stock market turmoil.
Li Yifei, chairwoman of the China unit of the Man Group, one of the world’s largest hedge funds was taken into custody by the police on Monday to assist an investigation into market volatility, Bloomberg reported. Her mobile phone was switched off.
Li's husband Wang Chaoyong denied his wife had been taken into custody, saying that she had been called to a special meeting with industry authorities but he was unaware of its purpose.
"Li is in a meeting with [financial industry] authorities at the moment in the suburbs of Beijing," he told the Financial Times, adding that the meeting was continuing from Monday and that "it sounds like there are a lot of people attending from foreign financial institutions".
"Foreign funds need to give information [to the authorities]. Because of the sensitivity of the meeting, all the participants must turn off their mobile phones and are not to contact the outside [without permission]," he told the mainland website Thepaper.cn website. The same day, Wang told another mainland news outlet, Caixin that Li was at "a meeting in London".
Li’s disappearance has prompted speculation as it comes after a series of confessions from journalists and members of the financial industry. On Monday Wang Xiaolu, a journalist from one of China’s top financial publications, appeared on Chinese state television confessing causing “panic and disorder” on the stock market by reporting the news. Wang’s arrest was one of a reported 200 as the Chinese government staged a crackdown on people they believed were ‘spreading online rumours’ on several issues, including the markets.
Authorities have investigated reasons behind the slide in Chinese stock markets following a near 40 per cent fall in the Shanghai Composite Index since the end of June. The government has repeatedly blamed market manipulators for the decline.
Li became Man's chairwoman in China in 2011, having previously worked as the head of MTV China.Reuse content