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By | Kelly Fiveash 27th November 2008 15:46

Chinese police confirm Gome chairman quizzed over 'economic crimes'

Electrical retail tycoon Wong Kwong-yu probed

Beijing police confirmed today that the founder and chairman of Gome Electrical Appliances Holdings is under investigation for alleged involvement in “economic crimes”.

Wong Kwong-yu, who also goes by the name Huang Guangyu, was detained earlier this week. Reports suggested that the electrical appliance tycoon was being probed over alleged financial misconduct at Gome.

"We can confirm for you the news that Wong is being held for investigation by Beijing police in connection with economic crimes," a spokesman for Beijing's police bureau said, according to Associated Press.

However, he was unable to provide any further details about the investigation.

His statement was the first official confirmation by Chinese authorities that police are indeed questioning Wong for alleged share trading violations or other crimes.

Wong is one of China’s richest people. He has an estimated fortune of about $6.3bn (£4.2bn). He and his wife Du Juan hold a 39.48 per cent stake in Gome’s listed unit, according to the information from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Shares in the company were suspended on Monday as reports broke that Wong had disappeared.

Chinese financial magazine Caijing reported earlier this week that Wong was detained as part of an investigation into the manipulation of shares of SD Jintai, a pharmaceuticals group controlled by his brother, Huang Junqin.

Gome could not be immediately reached for comment. On Tuesday it issued a brief statement saying it was “making necessary inquiries” in an effort to “verify the allegations”.

It claimed that the firm’s operations had not been affected and that it had received no legal notices from Chinese authorities about Wong’s whereabouts. ®

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