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Gome's Huang resigns from company board

GOME Electrical Appliances Holdings Ltd yesterday said founder Huang Guangyu has resigned from the company board and is no longer chairman.

Chen Xiao, an executive director of the company, will replace Huang as chairman, Gome said in a Hong Kong exchange filing yesterday. Chen has also been appointed acting chief executive officer since last Friday, the company said.

Huang, Gome's largest shareholder, is China's second-richest man, according to Forbes magazine. He is facing charges of manipulating the prices of shares in two companies.

Hong Kong-listed Gome appointed Chen acting chairman in late November when Huang's detention was announced. Wang Junzhou, executive vice president, was promoted to executive director.

The country's biggest consumer electronics retailer suspended the executive duties of Huang late last month.

Huang allegedly manipulated the price of the Shanghai-listed Sanlian Commercial Co and the Shenzhen-listed Beijing Centergate Technologies Co, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said in November.

Huang's brother Huang Junqin, board chairman of Beijing Towercrest Group, was also under a police investigation, earlier media reports said. Beijing Centergate Chairman Xu Zhongmin was being questioned by police for alleged involvement in economic crimes.

Huang Guangyu, who has substantial real estate investments, spent 154 million yuan (US$22.5 million) buying 29.58 percent of Beijing Centergate shares through one of Gome's subsidiaries in 2006 and finally became the biggest shareholder of the company, which is involved in re-development of the Chinese capital's high-tech Zhongguancun area.

Huang then bought 49.7-million-yuan shares of Sanlian Commercial Co through two of Gome's subsidiaries in 2007 and controlled the company with 19.7 percent of its shares. However, Huang never sent staff to take over the management of the financially troubled company, according to Sanlian Commercial Co.

Huang's alleged share price manipulation was also linked to the Shandong Jintai Group, a drug manufacturer listed in Shanghai that is believed to be controlled by Huang Junqin.

The Shanghai Securities News earlier quoted insiders as saying Gome is seeking institutional investors from home and abroad to buy a stake in it.


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