Archive : Chinese police seek arrest of car tycoon

The Chinese authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Yang Rong, the missing former chairman of Brilliance, the country’s biggest manufacturer of commercial vans.

Police from the north eastern province of Liaoning said they were seeking 46-year-old tycoon Yang Rong in connection with alleged economic crimes. The news is causing anxiety in Germany, where BMW has a joint venture with Brilliance to build luxury cars in China.

UK-based MG Rover is forging a similar deal with a related company, Shanghai Shenhua, of which Mr Yang is chairman.

Whereabouts unknown

Mr Yang, ranked by Forbes as China’s third-richest businessman, with wealth estimated at $840m, is believed to have left China for the US months ago. He disappeared in June after Brilliance China announced it had replaced him as chairman and chief executive amid reports of a conflict over control of the company’s assets.

Mr Yang is among a number of top Chinese business figures who have run into trouble with mainland authorities over alleged tax evasion or other financial irregularities. Journalist Steve Vine in Hong Kong said that Mr Yang was once a central banker but, since moving into the private sector, had developed a “very confrontational style”.

New York listing

Mr Yang has denied all charges leveled at him but did admit that he is in dispute with the government over ownership of companies that he controls at the moment. Ten years ago the company became the first mainland Chinese company to list on the New York Stock Exchange.

It is unclear whether China would seek Mr Yang’s extradition, given the lack of an extradition treaty between Beijing and Washington. Although Mr Yang’s businesses are based in mainland China, he has permanent residency in Hong Kong and a green card enabling him to stay in the US. His wife and children are US citizens.

Keith Adams

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