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Prominent China lawyer quits ZTE board after media reports of sexual assault probe

SHENZHEN, China (Reuters) - A prominent Chinese lawyer who served on the board of telecoms equipment giant ZTE Corp has resigned after several news articles in state-backed media reported that he was under investigation for alleged sexual assault.

ZTE said in a filing with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Friday that it had received the resignation letter of non-executive board member Bao Yuming and that he will no longer hold any position at the company.

The filing said that the company was “concerned” by the media reports.

Bao, also known as Robert Y. Bao, could not immediately be reached for comment by phone, email or social media on Friday afternoon. His website, Bao Law, could not be accessed on Friday.

On Thursday, a local public security bureau in the city of Yantai in Shandong province said on its official Weibo account that in October last year it had reopened an earlier investigation into sexual assault allegations against a man named Bao after more evidence came to light.

The city government-backed Beijing News reported on Thursday that it had received confirmation from Yantai police that the statement referred to Bao Yuming. Reuters was not able to immediately confirm the report with Yantai police.

Bao was brought on to ZTE’s board in June 2018 in a management shakeup as part of a deal with Washington, as the company sought to lift a devastating supplier ban introduced after it broke an agreement to discipline executives who conspired to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran and North Korea.

ZTE’s 2018 annual report says that Bao worked in New York and California for nearly 10 years and that he has served as a senior legal adviser to several multinational companies including Cisco and News Corporation. It described him as “one of the top 10 chief legal officers in the country.”

Yantai Jereh Oilfield Services Group said in a separate stock exchange filing on Friday that it had fired Bao from his role as vice president, citing media reports of the investigation.

The prestigious Southwest University of Political Science and Law, in Chongqing, said on Friday it had dismissed Bao from his role as a part-time researcher.

Reporting by David Kirton; Editing by Tony Munroe and Kim Coghill

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