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Ant Group fined $985m

Ant Group fined $985m

China's central bank has fined fintech behemoth Ant Group $985 million for violating a host of laws and regulations.

Ant's violations relate to corporate governance, financial consumer protection, participation in business activities of banking and insurance institutions, payment and settlement business, and AML obligations, says the People's Bank of China.

Ant has been in Chinese regulators' crosshairs for years. In late 2020, a planned $37 billion IPO was derailed by moves to impose tighter restrictions on fintech firms entering the banking market.

The firm has since been working to appease authorities, carrying out a two-year restructuring to turn itself into a financial holding company subject to capital requirements similar to those for banks. Then, in January, founder Jack Ma ceded control of the company.

However, the fine paves the way for Ant to move forward with plans to secure a financial holding company licence and potentially revive its IPO.

Now, the central bank "will focus on improving 'normalised' supervision levels of platform companies' financial businesses, and bring all kinds of financial activities under supervision".

Says Ant: "We will comply with the terms of the penalty in all earnestness and sincerity and continue to further enhance our compliance governance."

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