5/26/15, "CEO ‘profited’ from $24 billion loss," News.com.au, Frank Chung and wires
"Remember the CEO who lost $24 billion in the space of an hour? It turns out, he might have had the last laugh after all. Last week, it was widely reported that Chinese billionaire Li Hejun lost nearly $24 billion as stocks in his solar energy company crashed.
Beijing-based solar Hanergy Thin Film Power Group (HTF), of which Mr Li owns 80 per cent, saw its share price plummet by 47 per cent last Wednesday, wiping $A23.64 billion of its value.
Its founder and chairman, who was named China’s richest man in February ahead of Alibaba founder Jack Ma, did not attend HTF’s annual meeting in Hong Kong that day.
It has now emerged that Mr Li is under investigation by Hong Kong regulators over allegations of market manipulation in Hanergy shares, The Independent reports.
Before last week, HTF, which develops “thin-film” solar panels that can be used as tinted windows on buildings or integrated into building materials for use on rooftops, saw its share price increase more than 600 per cent in the past year.
That made it the world’s largest solar power company by market value, but questions had been raised about its valuation and revenue sources, according to Bloomberg. An earlier report by the Financial Times said HTF parent company Hanergy Group made its fortune largely through unconventional sales between HTF and itself.
Li set up Hanergy in 1994 to build hydropower projects. It became the first private company to be awarded a contract to build a dam in China when it was picked in 2002 to construct the 2,400-megawatt Jin’anqiao dam.
The company also invested in wind farms but shifted its emphasis in 2009 to solar power. In 2012, it acquired Germany’s Solibro and California’s MiaSole
Last year, Hanergy was ranked No. 23 on the MIT Technology Review’s list of the world’s 50 “smartest companies”.
Li saw his personal wealth nearly triple compared to a year before, according to the Hurun Report’s Global Rich List 2015, which valued his personal fortune at $A26.42 billion ($US20.8 billion). Hanergy’s shares remain suspended on the Hong Kong stock exchange and the company has not commented publicly."