Insurance head resigns amid investment probe

By Bao Xian (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-12-29 08:50

The chairman of China's fourth-largest life insurer resigned during an investigation of suspected misuse of funds, the company's spokesman confirmed yesterday.

During a board meeting on Wednesday, the insurer "approved the resignation of Chairman Guan Guoliang and named President Sun Bin as the acting chairman until a new chairman is elected," said a spokesman for the New China Life Insurance Company (NCL) on condition of anonymity.

"This change will not hurt the company," the spokesman said.

Guan, 46, has been under investigation by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) since September for being suspected of violating regulations on capital utilization.

The investigation is focused on Guan's investments in the real estate sector and other areas forbidden by the industry watchdog.

"What is worse is that the board knows nothing about these investments," said a source close to the company who declined to be named.

As early as February of this year there were media reports saying PricewaterhouseCoopers, the auditor for NCL in 2005, found the insurer provided an 800 million yuan (US$102.5 million) warranty for three companies in the first half of 2005 and did not include it in its financial report. In addition, there were no available written contracts for a 1.34 billion yuan (US$158 million) transaction between NCL and Chengzhong Real Estate Company.

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