The former chairman of China’s Founder Securities Co. and its joint venture with Credit Suisse Group AG was released a few months ago from police custody after going missing in January, said a person with knowledge of the matter.
Lei Jie’s release, unreported until now, came after he assisted with a government probe, said the person, who asked not to be identified because there was no formal announcement of the move. Founder Securities said in January it couldn’t contact Lei after he asked for a week of sick leave that month.
Founder Securities, a unit of Beijing-based Peking University Founder Group, replaced Lei as chairman and removed him from the board in February after failing to contact him. Reached by phone Tuesday, Lei confirmed he’s no longer involved with the joint venture, but refused to talk about his whereabouts or comment further.
Lei is no longer a board member of Founder Securities and his status “is not part of the scope of our information disclosure,” Xiong Yuliu, the company’s board secretary, said in a text message.
Companies publicly traded in China are required to announce when their executives can’t be tracked down, and the phenomenon occurs from time to time. Shares of Guotai Junan International Holdings Ltd. plunged 12 percent on Monday after the brokerage said it couldn’t reach Chief Executive Officer Yim Fung. Sohu.com later reported authorities had taken him away as part of an investigation.
At the time of Lei’s disappearance, Founder was embroiled in a legal dispute with the billionaire owner of Beijing Zenith Holdings Group over control of the unit. The allegations included claims of corruption, and Founder Group’s top executives were ordered to cooperate with an investigation.
— With assistance by Keith Zhai