Evergrande: China property giant and its founder accused of $78bn fraud

Former billionaire Hui Ka Yan has been fined and faces being banned from the financial market for life.
Evergrande: China property giant and its founder accused of $78bn fraud
Evergrande founder Hui Ka Yan during the 12th National People's Congress in 2016 in Beijing.Getty Images

Struggling Chinese property giant Evergrande and its founder, Hui Ka Yan, have been accused of inflating revenues by $78bn (£61.6bn) in the two years before the firm defaulted on its debt.

The country’s financial markets regulator has fined the company’s mainland business Hengda Real Estate $583.5m.

Mr Hui also faces being banned for life from China’s financial markets.

In January, Evergrande was ordered to liquidate by a Hong Kong court.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) laid much of the blame on Mr Hui, who was once China’s richest man, for allegedly instructing staff to “falsely inflate” Hengda’s annual results in 2019 and 2020.

Mr Hui was also fined $6.5m, according to a filing by the company to the Shenzhen and Shanghai stock exchanges.

Evergrande did not immediately respond to a BBC request for comment.

Last September, Mr Hui who is also the company’s chairman was put under police surveillance as he was investigated over suspected “illegal crimes”.

The announcement comes days after the CSRC vowed to crack down on securities fraud, and protect small investors with “teeth and horns”.

Evergrande has been the poster child of China’s real estate crisis with more than $300bn of debt.

Liquidators have been appointed to look at Evergrande’s overall financial position and identify potential restructuring strategies.

That could include seizing and selling off assets, so that the proceeds can be used to repay outstanding debts.

However, the Chinese government may be reluctant to see work halt on property developments in China, where many would-be homeowners are waiting for homes they have already paid for.

Problems in China’s property market are having a major impact as the sector accounts for around a third of the world’s second largest economy.

The industry has been facing a major financial squeeze since 2021, when authorities introduced measures to curb the amount big real estate developers could borrow.

Since then several large property firms have defaulted on their debts.

On Monday, official data showed that property investment in China fell 9% in January and February from a year ago.

New construction starts also dropped by 30% which was their their worst fall in more than a year.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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