Charoen Pokphand Group flatly denied news report that Thailand's fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra partially financed the acquisition of Ping An Insurance, China's second largest insurer.
"The Charoen Pokphand Group would like to officially clarify as follows: The acquisition of shares were legal – The source of capital is transparent," the group said in a statement released today.
On December 5th, 2012 the companies - All Gain Trading Ltd, Bloom Fortune Group Ltd, Business Fortune Holdings Ltd and Easy Boom Developments, had signed an agreement to transfer shares of Ping An Insurance from the seller HSBC Insurance Holdings and The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. The deal raised eyebrows as it is valued at US$9.4 billion or HK$73.32 billion.
"All 4 companies are subsidiaries of CP which CP fully owns," CP Group insisted. "Furthermore, this acquisition was conducted with legal capital from the Charoen Pokphand Group and its subsidiaries."
It also added that since the People’s Republic of China opened up its country in 1979, CP had cooperated well with the Chinese government. CP was the first foreign entity to invest (in China) and throughout the years, CP had upheld the three agricultural development policies (Xinnongchun) as well as the ‘3-Benefits Principle’ (Benefit to the country, benefit to the people and benefit to the company). In addition, CP had continually reformed agricultural management such as expanding agricultural land, setting strict agricultural standards and modernizing agriculture. CP is confident in the development of Ping An Insurance and aims to collaborate with Ping An Insurance to develop every sector in the rural area which is in line with the policy of modernizing China’s agricultural sector.
It was reported by Chinese media yesterday that Thaksin may have taken part in the acquisition of Ping An Insurance.
Caixin Media's Century Weekly magazine reported, quoting sources, that about a third of the HK$15.2 billion first tranche of the purchase was funded by the Thaksin family, while the rest came from businessman Xiao Jianhua.
Xiao is the founder of several banking and securities firms and has also invested in some. He is reportedly close to former top government leaders and mainland securities watchdog officials. Century Weekly said his purchase of the Ping An stake was funded by three commercial banks he has links to.