June 14 (UPI) -- Chinese authorities reportedly detained the chairman of insurance and financial giant Anbang, one month after he was accused of irregularities.
The company, which owns several high-end resorts in the United States, said in a statement Tuesday billionaire Wu Xiaohui is "temporarily unable to fulfill his role for personal reasons" but did not comment on the reports he was detained.
In May, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission accused him of "evading industry regulations" and "wreaking havoc on market order." And in June, Wu was banned from traveling outside China, the Financial Times reported. Two months ago Xiang Junbo, the chairman of commission, was fired and put under investigation.
A BBC source said Wu had been taken away from the Anbang Office Building on Thursday by police.
Chinese business magazine Caijing reported the detention Tuesday night but later deleted the article.
In April, Anbang said in a statement it was suing Caixin Media, whose employees used to work for Caijing, for libel after numerous attempts to solicit advertisements and sponsorships. It said the reports caused "severe damages to the reputation of our company and Mr. Wu."
Late Tuesday, Anbang said the chairman's duties would be managed by other senior executives.
Anbang, which manages $242 billion in assets, has acquired several high-profile companies. In 2016, Anbang paid private equity firm Blackstone $6.5 billion for the ownership of Strategic Hotels & Resorts, which include the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, as well as the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay in California and the Four Seasons hotels in Silicon Valley and Washington.
Anbang and a real estate company owned by the family of Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser and son-in-law of President Donald Trump, were negotiating a deal to develop one of Kushner's Manhattan buildings -- 666 Fifth Ave. But talks ended in March after Democratic legislators wrote the White House Counsel's Office and the Treasury secretary that the deal could breach federal ethics rules. Kushner's responsibilities include relations with China.
Wu, who was born in 1966, began his career as an investor in roads and Chinese infrastructure projects. He married the granddaughter of Deng Xiaoping, China's late leader.
China's President Xi Jinping has initiated an anti-corruption campaign in the financial industry. Earlier this year, tycoon Xiao Jianhua was taken to the mainland to assist investigators in Beijing and hasn't been seen.
"If rumors of Wu Xiaohui's arrest or detention prove to be true, it may not immediately impact the insurance sector as a whole, but it could raise questions about Anbang's ability to remain a major player in outbound mergers and acquisitions," Brock Silvers, managing director of Kaiyuan Capital, a Shanghai-based financial advisory firm, told the South China Morning Post.