A sign at California Public Employees’ Retirement System headquarters in Sacramento. REUTERS/Max Whittaker

California’s Fair Political Practices Commission has opened a probe into whether the former investment chief of CalPERS, the largest public U.S. pension fund, violated conflict-of-interest laws by holding personal investments in private-equity firms in which the fund was also an investor, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Yu Ben Meng, a U.S. citizen born in China, resigned from his position at California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) earlier this month, saying he needed to focus on his health and family.

The Commission said on Monday it received two formal complaints regarding Meng’s investments and his disclosure of them, and would investigate both, according to the WSJ report.

Last week, California State Controller Betty Yee had called for the board of CalPERS to launch an inquiry into the abrupt exit of its chief investment officer.

Meng’s resignation came amid pressure from the Trump administration to curb investments in China.

Meng has twice worked for CalPERS, the first time starting in 2008 and the second time beginning in January 2019 when he became CIO, according to the fund’s website.

The Fair Political Practices Commission and CalPERS did not immediately respond to request for comment.

— Reuters

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