China’s Anbang Insurance Group said it will sue respected investigative news magazine Caixin, as well as its editor Hu Shuli, for what it has called “slanderous” allegations about its finances and chairman.
In an open letter addressed to Ms Hu, published on Wednesday morning on Anbang Group’s official site and dated May 1, the company’s legal department said that Anbang has “decided to sue you [Ms Hu] and Caixin media”.
The letter said Anbang will also file suit in Canada against Guo Tingbing, author of a recent Caixin cover story that made claims about financial irregularities at the insurer. It concludes:
We firmly hold that today in a country ruled according to the law, it is impermissible for any media company to abuse the right to speech to act recklessly for the sake of an interest group; we also firmly hold the law will safeguard the right to exist of any enterprise engaged in lawful operations!
The open letter repeats accusations of libel levied by the company when it first threatened at the weekend to sue the magazine, which in 2015 also reported that Anbang chairman Wu Xiaohui, who married the granddaughter of former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, was divorced.
In a response to Anbang’s earlier statement, Caixin Media said the privately-owned insurer’s allegations were “completely fabricated” and that it “strongly condemns Anbang’s defamatory statements, and reserves the right to bring legal actions moving forward.”
Anbang gained international prominence in 2014 with its purchase of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, kicking off an acquisition spree that has ground to a halt in the past year as it failed to complete takeover bids for US insurer Fidelity & Guaranty Life and hotels group Starwood.
More recently Mr Wu held talks with Jared Kushner, son-in-law and adviser to US President Donald Trump, about a possible real estate deal last year that failed to materialise.