What M&A rainmakers can learn from Huarong saga

Beijing's investigation of Lai Xiaomin, a former chairman of China Huarong Asset Management, shows the risks foreign firms face when courted by potential Chinese investors.
Lai Xiaomin, former chairman of China Huarong Asset Management
Lai Xiaomin, former chairman of China Huarong Asset Management

Beijing’s tough stance against a former chairman of China Huarong Asset Management highlights the risks that can lurk behind a facade of well-connected corporate respectability and a reminder to investors to do their due diligence, and do it thoroughly, when investing in China.

Lai Xiaomin, ex-chairman of the country’s largest financial asset management firm, is being prosecuted for bribery and embezzlement of public assets, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection CCDI and National Supervisory Commission NSC jointly announced last week.

Due to its statutory role helping to clean up problematic loans in China -- estimated at $3 trillion on some measures --...

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