While news of high-ranking financial executive suicides in the west have become week to week news, the troubling trend has spread to Asia. A string of Chinese officials have killed themselves in recent months, with speculation linking many to a crackdown on graft. However, as SCMP reports, this weekend saw the head of China's largest copper producer 'fell to this death' from a hotel owned by his company with a state-run newspaper claiming the 52-year-old committed suicide (due to work pressures) following corruption allegations. The timing of Wei Jianghong, chairman of state-owned Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group, suicide appears catalyzed by the growing anxiety over the widespread implications of China's rehypothecation commodity-finance scandal. That leaves one question - what did he know that markets remain ignorant of for now?
Profile: Mr. Jianghong Wei serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Co., Ltd
Mr. Wei serves as the Chairman of the Board of Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Holdings Co., Ltd. He served as a General Manager of Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Holdings Co., Ltd. Mr. Wei worked for Tongling Nonferrous Metals (Group) Corporation as Deputy Manager, Director of the Economics and Trade Department, and Party Secretary from May 1998 to January 2003; Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee, and Deputy Manager from January 2003 to April 2003; General Manager and Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee from April 2003 to April 2007; and Chairman of the Board, General Manager. He has been Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of Tongling Nonferrous since April 2007. He serves as the Chairman of Tongling Jinvi Copper Corp. Mr. Wei has a Master of Business degree and is a senior engineer (mining).
The head of a US$2 billion Chinese copper producer fell to his death from a building, the firm announced on Wednesday, with a state-run newspaper claiming he committed suicide following corruption allegations.
The chairman of state-owned Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group, Wei Jianghong, died on Tuesday after falling off a building, the company said in a statement.
A string of officials have killed themselves in recent months, with speculation linking some to a crackdown on graft launched by President Xi Jinping after he took office last year.
State-run media said Wei jumped from a hotel owned by the company in Tongling, the city in the eastern province of Anhui where it has its headquarters.
The China Business News quoted a source as saying the incident might involve corruption since disciplinary authorities had initiated an investigation involving Tongling.
It seems when the graft stops and the rehypothecation miracle ends... companies get in trouble...
Tongling’s profits have declined in recent years due to the sluggish world economy and slower domestic demand, reports said.
Its net profit for last year slumped 38 per cent year-on-year to 573 million yuan (HK$721 million), according to an exchange filing.
Shares of Tongling, listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange, were down more than four per cent on Wednesday afternoon after the announcement, but its market capitalisation was still 12.7 billion yuan.
Tongling said authorities were investigating the incident and the board had appointed vice-chairman Yang Jun as acting chairman. It added company operations were normal.
This is not the first executive related to this industry to commit suicide...
In April the deputy chief of the government agency that fields grievances from citizens, Xu Ye’an, killed himself in his Beijing office although the details surrounding his death remain unclear.
State media also reported that Li Wufeng, deputy director of the government information department, “fell to death”, also in April.
Which makes us wonder - if the Qingdao probe and commodity-finance scandal is a storm-in-a-teacup as so many would like it to be, then why are the most senior executives of the biggest firm involved committing suicide?