China's Citic Securities says it can't contact 2 top investment bankers

HONG KONG – One of China’s biggest securities companies said it can’t contact its top two investment bankers after media reports said the pair might be under investigation.

Citic Securities Co. said in a statement Sunday evening that it hasn’t been able to get in touch with Chen Jun and Yan Jianlin.

Financial news magazine Caixin reported Friday on its website that the two were taken away by authorities but it wasn’t clear whether they were the ones being investigated or were merely being asked to assist in an investigation

The two are the latest executives to go missing from Citic as authorities deepen an investigation into the company following a spectacular rout on China’s stock market over the summer.

Chen is head of Citic’s investment banking business while Yan is head of the company’s international investment banking arm, according to its website.

Authorities are also scrutinizing two other big Chinese securities firms as part of the investigation, which many see as an attempt by the ruling Communist Party to deflect blame for the Shanghai index’s 30 per cent drop from its peak. State media had encouraged the public to buy stocks, fueling a bubble.

In August, the official Xinhua news agency said eight Citic employees were being investigated for illegal stock trading. The following month, the police ministry said Citic executives including its general manager, Cheng Boming, were suspected of insider trading and leaking sensitive information.

The company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange that operations were “normal” and some employees who were asked to help in unspecified preliminary investigations have returned to work, although it didn’t name them.