Chinese regulators seize Anbang Insurance; chief Wu to be tried for fraud

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  Updated Feb. 23, 2018 at 12:27 PM
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Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The Chinese government on Friday seized the assets of privately-owned Anbang Insurance Group, which owns New York City's Waldorf-Astoria hotel and other global properties.

Anbang founder Wu Xiaohui will be prosecuted for fraud, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission announced. The action, which furthers Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption efforts, is meant to end the acquisition fervor of Chinese tycoons and offer government protection to millions of Chinese citizens who bought Anbang investments. It is also an indication that China will no longer encourage global asset growth and will instead focus on shoring up its internal economic structure, Bloomberg News reported.

Anbang has $315 billion in assets and is among the highest-profile Chinese company in international investments. The company purchased the iconic Waldorf-Astoria in 2014. The hotel, and Anbang's other properties, are now is been overseen by government regulators. A year ago the company was in talks to invest in a company owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and White House adviser.

The seizure is China's largest takeover of a privately owned company.

Wu has been in custody since June, when the government began its crackdown on Chinese tycoons accelerating global mergers and acquisitions.

His detention is meant to distance Wu from his company and prevent purchasers of high-yield Anbang insurance companies from panicking and surrendering policies for cash, the South China Morning Post reported.

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