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China Evergrande's ex-CEO sells Hong Kong home at almost half of purchase price

China Evergrande Group CEO Xia Haijun attends a news conference in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China Evergrande's former CEO, who Chinese regulators recently said was "uncontactable", has sold his home in Hong Kong at a loss of HK$74 million ($9.48 million) from the purchase price, according to a property agent.

Xia Haijun last month sold a 2,834 net sq ft (263 sq m) five-bedroom duplex flat in North Point Mid-Levels district on Hong Kong island for HK$82 million, said Gary Lam, a senior sales director at real estate agency Centaline.

The price was 49% lower than the asking price of HK$160 million when the property was put on the market last June, Lam added. The asking price in turn was just HK$4 million more than the purchase price.

Xia could not be reached for a comment.

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Xia, who stepped down from the embattled Chinese developer in 2022 after an internal probe found he was involved in diverting loans worth $2 billion secured by unit Evergrande Property Services to the group, bought the flat from New World Development in 2019, according to records from the Land Registry. Xia has not commented on the probe.

The home on the 32nd and 33rd floors, which overlooks Victoria Harbour, includes a 654 sq ft balcony, 1,159 sq ft terrace with a pool, and three parking spaces.

Xia left mainland China in 2021 and stayed in Hong Kong as the world's most indebted property developer slipped into debt troubles, Reuters had reported.

Two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters that as the Evergrande crisis deepened, Xia left for Canada. China's securities regulator has said Xia is a Canadian citizen.

In a filing last month, where Evergrande's onshore flagship unit was fined $577 million for fraudulent bond issuance and illegal information disclosure, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said Xia's involvement was "particularly vile".

However, the regulator did not announce penalties for Xia like it did with other senior executives because it said it was not able to contact him.

CSRC fined Evergrande chairman Hui Ka Yan 47 million yuan ($6.48 million) and barred him from the securities market for life.

A mansion on the Peak in Hong Kong once owned by Hui was also sold last month for $57.37 million, half the valuation it received in 2023, records from the Land Registry showed.

($1 = 7.2549 Chinese yuan renminbi)

($1 = 7.8094 Hong Kong dollars)

(Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Rashmi Aich)