BEIJING (Reuters) – Police in southern China have detained some staff at China Evergrande Group’s wealth management unit, suggesting a new investigation that could add to the property giant’s woes.
“Recently, public security organs took criminal compulsory measures against Du and other suspected criminals at Evergrande Financial Wealth Management Co.,” Shenzhen city police said in a social media statement on Saturday night.
During protests by disgruntled investors at Evergrande’s Shenzhen headquarters in 2021, Du Liang was identified by staff as general manager and legal representative of Evergrande’s wealth management division.
Reuters could not confirm that Du was among those detained, and the police statement did not specify the number of people detained, the charges or the date they were taken into custody.
China Evergrande did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday outside of normal business hours.
The police said the investigation into the financial management unit was ongoing and urged investors to report any further financial crimes.
China Evergrande, the world’s most indebted property developer, is at the centre of a crisis in China’s property sector, which has seen a string of debt defaults since late 2021 that has dragged on the growth of the world’s second-largest economy.
The group, currently undergoing a protracted debt restructuring which has seen it offload a range of assets, said on Friday it has delayed making a decision on offshore debt restructuring from September to next month.
Trade in Evergrande’s stock was suspended for 17 months until Aug. 28.
Moody’s on Thursday cut the outlook on China’s property sector to negative from stable, citing economic challenges it said would dampen sales despite government support.
(Reporting by Laurie Chen and David Kirton in Shenzhen; Editing by Tom Hogue)