Top China exec in New York after disappearance: company

(MENAFN- AFP) The billionaire boss of one of China's largest private companies, who was last week was rumoured to be detained by authorities, has traveled to New York, his company said Friday.

The four-day disappearance of Guo Guangchang, known as China's Warren Buffett, sparked rumours that the head of Fosun had been caught in a crackdown on the financial sector.

He reappeared briefly at a corporate meeting Monday, after nervous investors drove the group's primary traded stock down by almost ten percent, but had not been seen in public since.

But now Guo has traveled to New York in connection with a real estate project, according to a statement on Fosun's official WeChat social media account.

Guo will next travel to Canada to attend a performance of Cirque du Soleil in Montreal on Monday, the company said, adding that he also planned to go to the Bahamas.

In April the company, which has sprawling interests in China and abroad, purchased a 20 percent stake in the troupe, known for its dynamic, contemporary circus performances.

The announcement of Guo's travel came shortly after respected business magazine Caijing reported that the company chairman was spotted eating dinner in Manhattan, citing a photo that appeared on Chinese social media.

"He appeared to be in good spirits", according to the accompanying post, which added that the picture was evidence that Guo had been "merely helping an investigation".

In the wake of Guo's disappearance, Fosun subsidiaries said the 48-year-old executive -- known as a loyal advocate of the ruling Communist Party -- was "assisting in certain investigations" by Chinese authorities.

The photo showed Guo sitting in what appears to be a restaurant, locked in conversation, as wait staff stand behind him. The authenticity of the photo could not be verified.

Fosun has a large real estate portfolio in Shanghai -- stronghold of former president Jiang Zemin, whose allies have been targeted by President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign.

Guo was linked by local media to Wang Zongnan, head of state-owned Shanghai retailer Bailian, who was given an 18-year sentence in August for embezzlement and bribery.

The Fosun chairman sold two villas to Wang's parents in 2003 at less than half their market value, according to widely circulated media reports.

Guo denied the allegations, but they have raised questions about his relationship with Wang and by extension Jiang.


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