China's Kingold shares tank on report of fake gold bars

BEIJING (Reuters) - Kingold Jewelry Inc's KGJI.O New York-listed shares fell as much as 40% on Monday following a media report that alleged the Chinese company had obtained loans by using fake gold bars as collateral.

Kingold chairman Jia Zhihong was cited in the article as denying there was anything wrong with the collateral and Kingold did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Tuesday.

Chinese business media outlet Caixin reported on June 27 that Kingold had secured 20 billion yuan ($2.83 billion) in loans over the past five years using at least 83 tonnes of gold bars, some of which turned out to be gilded copper.

It said Kingold’s top creditor, China Minsheng Trust Co. Ltd., had gold bars it was holding as collateral tested and in May the test results showed the bars contained copper alloy.

With prices near eight-year highs XAU=, 83 tonnes of gold is worth around $4.5 billion.

Wuhan-based Kingold firm describes itself as a leading producer of 24-karat gold jewellery in China.

Its Nasdaq-listed shares on Monday fell as much as 40.2% to $0.67, their lowest since listing in 2010, before closing down 23.8% at $0.85.

The stock traded as high as $15 in October 2017, Refinitiv Eikon data show.

The Shanghai Gold Exchange said on June 24 that Kingold’s membership had been cancelled due to violations of membership provisions.

Reporting by Tom Daly; additional reporting by Cheng Leng in Beijing and Peter Hobson in London; editing by Jason Neely