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Beijing urges Evergrande’s boss to repay with own cash

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Xu Jiayin was once China's richest man with a fortune worth more than $40 billion but the troubles at Evergrande have shrunk that to less than $8 billion. AFP

Beijing urges Evergrande’s boss to repay with own cash

Chinese authorities have told Evergrande founder Xu Jiayin, once the country’s richest man, to use his personal wealth to alleviate the embattled company’s debt crisis, according to media reports.

The liquidity crunch at one of China’s biggest property developers has hammered investor sentiment and rattled the country’s crucial real estate market.

Last week, the group unexpectedly paid interest on an offshore bond just before an October 23 deadline, averting a default and giving it a much-needed reprieve.

Evergrande also reported that it had resumed work on more than 10 stalled projects.

But Bloomberg News reported on October 26 that Beijing has pushed Xu – also known as Hui Ka Yan in Cantonese – to dip into his own pocket to help pay off some of the company’s debts, citing people familiar with the matter.

The report said the directive from Beijing came after his company missed an initial bond interest payment due on September 23.

However, it is unlikely that Xu’s personal sacrifice would make much of an impact on Evergrande’s liabilities of more than $300 billion, with Bloomberg reporting his fortune at less than $8 billion.

Xu, 63-year-old, was once the wealthiest person in China, worth more than $40 billion just a few years ago, before Evergrande’s troubles began.

People cited by Bloomberg also said that local governments across China are monitoring the developer´s bank accounts to ensure company cash is used to complete unfinished housing projects and not diverted to pay creditors.

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