China Minsheng Bank said Saturday that its operations were “normal” following reports that its president had been taken away to aid in a corruption investigation.
In a statement, a Minsheng spokesperson told the official Xinhua news agency that the bank’s president, Mao Xiaofeng, was dealing with a “personal” issue.
“China Minsheng Bank has noticed reports concerning president Mao Xiaofeng. As far as the bank knows, the matter is of a personal nature and is unrelated to bank operations,” the statement said.
It said that “the operations of our bank are all normal”.
Late Friday, respected business news outlet Caixin reported that Mao, the head of China’s largest privately owned bank, was taken away in recent days by the ruling Communist Party’s internal watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).
Mao “has been asked to assist in the investigation of a high-ranking official”, Caixin reported. It said that Mao had been dismissed from his post as Minsheng’s Communist Party secretary.
China’s President Xi Jinping has touted a crackdown on graft since assuming the party’s top post in 2012, targeting both high-level “tigers” and low-level “flies”.
Among the top officials ensnared is Zhou Yongkang, who was China’s former internal security chief and a member of the party’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee before his retirement in 2012.
It is unclear to which official Mao’s reported detention could be linked. Investigative magazine Caijing on Saturday cited “rumours” that Mao may have been taken away due to his connections to the wife of former official Ling Jihua.
Ling, who was chief of staff to former president Hu Jintao, was detained last month following rumours that he had attempted to cover up the lurid 2012 death of his son in a Ferrari crash. Ling’s wife, Gu Liping, has also reportedly been taken away to assist in the probe.
Critics say China has failed to implement institutional safeguards against graft such as public asset disclosure, an independent judiciary, and free media, leaving anti-corruption campaigns subject to the influence of politics.