China’s top law enforcement agency has issued a public condemnation of the chairman of Future Land Development Holdings, following his detention on suspicion of child molestation.
In a statement on its official WeChat issued two days after Wang Zhenhua had surrendered to authorities on 2 July, the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, which oversees China’s police, prosecutors and courts, accused the chairman of China’s eighth-largest developer of an act against nature in connection with the suspected abuse last month of a nine-year-old girl..
The statement, which speculated on Wang’s character, also underlined the government’s commitment to protecting children, and said, following an exploration of Wang’s potential crimes, that, “Regardless of the answers to these questions, one thing is completely certain: the black hand of sexual assault on children will surely be dealt with by the sword of the law, without exception!”
In a separate development yesterday, investors lodged a complaint with the China Securities Regulatory Commission alleging that senior management of Shanghai-listed Seazen Holdings, where Wang also served as chairman, may have warned select investors of the tycoon’s detention before the news was made public.
Delivered Up as a Plaything into the Tiger’s Mouth
The statement by the CPLA Commission reassures the public that Wang’s status as a billionaire property tycoon will not exempt him from prosecution. The statement goes on to compare the chairman, who ran a foundation for underprivileged children, to a wolf in sheep’s clothing who conceals his crimes behind a mask of philanthropy and entrepreneurship.
In a strongly worded section of the statement, the CPLA Commission claims that the nine-year-old victim was delivered up as a “plaything into the tiger’s mouth” and insinuates that Wang might be a repeat offender involved in a child abuse ring.
Just over two years ago, shares in Future Land Development plunged as a result of the chairman being probed by authorities in its home city of Changzhou with regard to a similar incident.
A stock market announcement at that time said the investigation was of a personal nature unrelated to company activity. Following these latest charges against Wang, the 57-year-old developer has been removed from his executive roles with all three of the publicly-listed companies formerly under his control.
Investors Accuse Senior Management of Insider Dealing
With the share price of Seazen Holdings down 27 percent since 2 July, lawyers representing a group of investors in the company lodged a complaint yesterday with the China Securities Regulatory Commission seeking damages as a result of possible insider dealing in Seazen’s shares.
The lawyers, who are petitioning other investors to sue for compensation of losses, have identified five large transactions of shares in the Shanghai-listed firm totalling RMB 144 million that took place between July 1 and July 3, before the news about the police investigation into Wang was made public.
The unnamed investors allege that senior management at Seazen Holdings may be guilty of informing interested parties that the chairman was the subject of a probe by the authorities before the news was officially released.
The CSRC have said that they will investigate the facts according to the law and make their findings public in due course.
Shares Down, Sales Up
Although shares recovered slightly this week for all three of Wang’s companies, Future Land, Seazen and Hong Kong-listed property management firm Xinchengyue Holdings have seen their share values slashed.
Shares in Future Land Development were at HK$7.01 at the close of play on 8 July, down 34.7 percent from HK$10.74 on 2 July.
Shares in Seazen Holdings finished Monday at RMB 31.12, having declined 27.1 percent from last week’s RMB 42.69. Xinchengyue has suffered the worst hit, with shares down 36 percent at HK$5.5, from HK$8.6 before Wang’s detention.
Yesterday, in an attempt to assuage investors, Future Land Development announced that it had achieved contracted contracted sales of RMB 123 billion for the first half of the year, an increase of 28 percent over the same period last year.
The developer said these sales covered ten million square metres of built space or 35 percent more than the company recorded in the first six months of 2018.