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Anbang Head Of Real Estate Jumps Ship Amid Increased Government Scrutiny

The head of real estate at Anbang Insurance Group, one of China's largest global investors and a major buyer of U.S. property, has resigned.

New York skyline

Theo Cheng, who handled the company's real estate investment activity with a focus on overseas purchases, is on gardening leave, PERE reports — meaning Cheng has been instructed to cease work, but is still receiving pay.

The resignation comes at a time when Anbang, known in America for its $1.95B acquisition of New York City's Waldorf Astoria hotel and the $6.5B acquisition of Strategic Hotels & Resorts, is experiencing increased government scrutiny. Anbang is one of several high-profile Chinese companies under the microscope for heavy investment in foreign assets. Regulators are tightening the screws on the country's global investment activity and the amount of money leaving the country. 

This is not the first time an executive has stepped down from the firm within the last 18 months. In June, Anbang group chairman Wu Xiaohui was detained by Chinese authorities for questioning regarding an unspecified investigation. His whereabouts are unknown at this time, PERE reports.

It was also reported last week that China's State Council has banned investment in sectors such as gambling and will be scrutinizing all foreign transactions, including those under $1B, going forward. The purpose of this crackdown is to minimize risk in the Chinese financial sector and to support the country’s currency. Chinese financiers invested $16.4B in the U.S. last year and have already spent another $7.2B this year, JLL reports.