China insurance regulator takes control of Anbang Insurance Group, chairman prosecuted

23 Feb, 2018 10:35 am

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Anbang Insurance Group Co Ltd, one of China’s biggest insurance conglomerates, has been taken over by the country’s insurance regulator for one year, and its chairman has been prosecuted for economic crimes.

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) said in a statement on Friday that it will maintain the group as a private company, even as it undertakes an equity restructuring, following the arrest last June of Anbang’s chairman and key shareholder, Wu Xioahui.

The government takeover of Anbang, which claims 1.97 trillion yuan (222.9 billion pounds) in assets and ranks 139 on the Global Fortune 500 list, represents a defining blow to the acquisitive conglomerate best known for acquiring New York’s landmark Waldorf Astoria hotel.

After a spate of high-profile deals worth over $30 billion, Anbang began to run into roadblocks even before Wu’s detention, failing to close on a handful of investments and facing criticism over its opaque shareholding structure.

The CIRC said it will take over Anbang from Feb. 23 for one year in a post on its official website.

An Anbang spokesman was not immediately available for comment. CIRC added that Anbang’s debts and obligations will not be impacted by the takeover.

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