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Vice Chairman of Chinese Insurance Company Taken Into Custody

By Yue Yue and Wu Gang

(Beijing) — A vice chairman of one of China’s biggest insurance companies, the People’s Insurance Company of China (PICC), was taken away as part of an investigation by authorities, sources told Caixin, but the reason for the action is unknown.

Insiders told Caixin that rumors that Wang Yincheng was being investigated had been circulating inside the company for nearly a year. They started after a team from the Communist Party’s Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection (CCDI) finished its examination of the PICC in 2015. But Wang, who is also president of the state-owned insurance giant, continued to work at the company until being taken away from his office in Beijing on Monday.

After a two-month inspection in late 2015, the disciplinary watchdog reported on Feb. 4, 2016, that the company had a series of “party disciplinary problems,” including ineffective management of officials who traveled abroad for personal reasons; officials’ relatives’ making money from insurance businesses, and a suspicion that some major investment decisions were being made for personal benefits.

The inspection team also said it had received reports from whistleblowers about unspecified “problems” concerning company executives.

Sources also said that Wang may be connected to former central government official Ling Jihua, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in July for abuse of power and taking bribes.

Wang often participated in meetings of the so-called West Mountain Clique, which gathered officials and business people from Shanxi province, including Ling, multiple sources told Caixin.

However, when Ling was tried last year, there was no public mention of any alleged involvement by Wang.

The PICC ranks 119th among the Fortune’s 2016 Global 500 companies.

Contact reporter Wu Gang (gangwu@caixin.com)

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