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Billionaire Hikvision director named in Chinese disclosure probe

Billionaire Hikvision director named in Chinese disclosure probe
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FILE PHOTO: A Hikvision surveillance camera is seen on the Drum Tower in downtown Beijing, China June 19, 2019. Picture taken June 19, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s securities regulator is investigating one of the country’s richest men for alleged violation of disclosure rules as a director of surveillance camera giant Hikvision (002415.SZ), the company said.

Directors Gong Hongjia and Hu Yangzhong had been named as suspects and would cooperate with the investigation by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the firm said in a filing to the stock exchange on Wednesday. It did not provide any detail of the alleged violations.

Gong is a Hikvision vice chairman and the firm’s largest individual shareholder with a 13.4% stake, according to Refinitiv data. The Forbes China rich list puts his net worth at $9 billion, making him the 26th-richest person in the country.

Hu is Hikvision’s general manager and is ranked by Forbes as the 265th wealthiest person in China with a net worth of $1.5 billion.

Hikvision, the world’s biggest supplier of video surveillance systems, was one of eight firms added to a U.S. blacklist in October aimed at punishing Beijing for its treatment of Muslim minorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

The firm had allegedly provided surveillance equipment to police authorities throughout Xinjiang, where China has been accused by Washington of repression, arbitrary detention and high-technology surveillance against Muslim minority groups.

Hikvision said at the time that it strongly opposed the U.S. decision and was working on contingency plans.

In May, the CSRC said it was working to improve the quality of the country’s listed firms after a series of disclosures stoked investor concerns over poor governance.

Reporting by David Stanway; Additional reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Stephen Coates

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