The South China Morning Post reports that “Ye Jianming [叶简明], the Fujian entrepreneur who took fewer than five years to rise from obscurity to become head of China’s fourth-largest oil conglomerate, has been detained for questioning, according to four sources familiar with the matter.”
- The detention was “ordered directly by the Chinese president Xi Jinping” and occurred before February 16, sources told SCMP.
- Ye’s company, a private conglomerate called CEFC China Energy, had “burst into international prominence with the announcement of its 14 per cent purchase [$9 billion] of Rosneft, shortly after Russian president Vladimir Putin visited Beijing last summer,” the Financial Times says (paywall).
- Other deals that CEFC made were “largely smoke and mirrors,” according to (paywall) Caixin, including deals in Romania, the Czech Republic, and Chad, because they “ran into difficulty and others generated lackluster returns.” But the Czech Republic deal, SCMP notes, likely had a political return, as “the Czech Republic’s president Milos Zeman was the sole European Union leader to join a 2015 military parade in Beijing to commemorate the end of the Second World War.”
- The Rosneft deal is now complicated, as FT notes that CEFC’s “bonds plummeted in value,” which “calls into question its ability to raise the needed funds in Mr Ye’s absence” to close the deal.