China’s Richest Man Loses $15 Billion In Less Than One Hour

China’s richest man lost $15 billion in less than one hour. Li Hejun currently owns 80 percent of Hanergy Thin Film Power, which manufacturers solar panels. Although it had been a lucrative business, Hanergy shares lost significant value over the last three days. By Wednesday, the company’s value was cut nearly in half.

As reported by CNN, Hanergy shares gained more than 625 percent since the beginning of 2014. Although it was good news for Hejun and the solar firm, the unusual surge raised serious questions.

In recent months, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission launched an investigation into the inexplicable gains. However, Hanergy officials vehemently deny any wrongdoing.

Although shares of Hanergy started falling early this week, Li Hejun failed to attend the annual shareholders meeting — which took place on Wednesday.

By Thursday morning, Hanergy lost more than $18 billion in market value. As a result, China’s richest man lost $15 billion less than one hour.

In response to media reports, Hanergy Holding Group Limited published a statement on the company website. In their statement, company officials contend “operations are normal in all respects and [they] maintain a good financial position with no overdue loans.” Company officials also deny reports of forced liquidation.

“To date, our Group and its connected parties hold approximately 30.6 billion shares of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited, and there has been no recent reduction in these stock holdings… Up to now, our Group has never conducted any financial derivative transaction or betting to any institution/ individual on the shares of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited.”

The statement also addressed reports that Li Hejun avoided the shareholder meeting in anticipation of the stock market crash. According to company officials, Hejun was simply attending a ceremony at the Hanergy Renewable Energy Exhibition Center.

Prior to the crash, Li Hejun’s net worth was estimated to be nearly $30 billion. Therefore, China’s richest man lost more than half of his net worth in less than one hour.

Hejun is not the only victim of a stock market crash. Hong Kong’s second-richest man, Pan Sutong, lost $11 billion. As reported by CNBC, Goldin Financial and Goldin Property, which are both owned by Sutong, each lost more than 40 percent in market value on Wednesday.

Sutong has not discussed his loss, and China’s richest man has not commented about losing $15 billion in less than one hour. However, spokespersons for both companies said they are unsure what caused the stocks to crash.

[Image via Shutterstock]