A public father-son clash over accusations of financial misconduct send shares of the world’s largest pork producer down 12%

Smithfield Foods
Pigs are seen at a Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer farm in the United States.
  • Shares in WH Group plunged 11.6% on Wednesday after the firm's former CEO was accused of financial wrongdoing by his son, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • Wan Hongjian, formerly the company's executive director, accused his father of tax evasion and overseeing corporate fraud.
  • Hongjian was fired from the company in June over his "aggressive behaviors."
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Shares in WH Group, the world's largest pork processor, plunged 11.6% on Wednesday after the firm's controlling shareholder and former CEO was accused of financial wrongdoing by his son, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The bizarre spat sent WH Group's Hong Kong-listed stock as low as $5.93 from a previous closing price of $6.71.

The case centers around 81-year-old billionaire meat tycoon Wan Long and his son Wan Hongjian. Long was until last week the CEO of WH Group, when he passed the reins onto the company's former CFO, Guo Lijun, according to the Journal.

In a WeChat post seemingly authored by Hongjian, the meat-industry scion laid into Long and Guo, accusing both men of multiple improprieties. Among them, Hongjian accused his father of tax evasion and overseeing corporate fraud. He also accused Guo of bungling foreign-currency trades in his time as CFO, allegedly losing WH Group millions.

WH Group denied the allegations and said in a public filing that it was contemplating legal action against Hongjian.

In June, Hongjian was booted from his previous roles as WH Group's executive director, deputy chairman, and VP on account of his "aggressive behaviors against the company's properties." WH Group said in a statement at the time that it didn't expect Hongjian's departure to impact the company's performance, according to the South China Morning Post.

In interviews following his firing, Hongjian said he had clashed with his father over management issues, potentially including the acquisition of Virginia-based pork producer Smithfield Foods.

After a particularly heated disagreement, Hongjian said he punched a door and headbutted a glass cabinet in rage prompting a bodyguard to tackle him.

WH Group stock closed at $5.95 in Hong Kong, down 11.3% on the day.

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