Bloomberg News on Wednesday, April 13, reported that Beijing’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) has been taking part in the probe of Jack Ma’s fintech empire Ant Group and its connection with state-owned firms.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the report said the anti-corruption watchdog was inspecting Ant’s influence and the scope of its dealings with state banks and businesses.
China’s anti-corruption body was involved in the February order that state enterprises report checks on their financial exposure and other links to Ant. At that time the CCDI’s participation was not revealed.
CCDI has been working to weed out the corruptive links between government officials and corporate businesses as it purged former Hangzhou party chief Zhou Jiangyong. He was accused of conspiring with private enterprises to help them expand in a “disorderly” manner.
The Financial Times in January reported from public records and sources that the corruption case had led to Ant. Beijing has not released any official confirmation about Ant’s footprint in the investigation.
Zhou has been charged for taking “huge” bribes this week. Ant and Ma have not been charged with any misconduct in connection with the investigation.
Ant Group has faced a series of headwinds in recent years despite its initially high prospects. In 2020, its 35 billion dollars IPO, which would have been the world’s largest IPO, was canceled. China also ordered the company to restructure its operations, including lending, insurance, and wealth management, as well as form a financial holding company to be regulated as a bank.