First they came for China’s Carl Icahn, but I did not say anything because I was not China’s Carl Icahn…. Yet another wealthy tycoon has disappeared in China this week. This time the missing party is Guo Guangchang, often referred to as China’s Warren Buffett in the financial media because of his $7 billion insurance empire.
According to a report from Chinese Caixin website. Guo, the founder and chairman of the Shanghai-based Fosun International, has not been heard from since Thursday afternoon in China.
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Caixin and other Chinese media outlets are claiming Guo was seen in the custody of Chinese authorities at the Shanghai airport after returning from a trip to Hing Kong.
There has been no official word on Guo’s detention, but the speculation is that Guo has been detained for a corruption investigation, and political analysts note the pattern has been public disappearance occurring before an official announcement. Caixin reports Fosun execs thought that Guo was still in Shanghai as of noon, but his phone has not been answered for several hours.
More on the disappearance of China’s Warren Buffett
Analysts point out that Guo would be most well-known business executive to be taken in for questioning in the corruption crackdown in the Middle Kingdom. The 48 year-old billionaire is the 11th richest man in China, and Forbes estimates he is worth around $6.9 billion. Fosun has aggressively expanded its portfolio in recent years, snapping up French resort company Club Mediterranee and paying top prices for prime real estate assets such as Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York City.
A number of high-level politicians and businessmen have been arrested relating to corruption charges in China over the last few months. Rumors have swirled around Guo since late 2013. The case began to seem more substantial after Wang Zongnan, a retired Communist Party official and ex-chairman of retail chain Shanghai Friendship Group, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for corruption late this summer. The decision rendered in that case claimed that Guo Guangchang and Fosun sold villas at discounted prices to Wang’s parents in return for favors from Wang. However, at the time, Fosun released a statement denying receiving any illegal benefits from the partnership with Wang.