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Xi Jinping inspects ties between Chinese financial companies and private firms – WSJ

© Reuters. Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks via video link at the opening ceremony of the 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) held in Beijing, at a restaurant in Shanghai, China September 2, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song

(Reuters) -Chinese President Xi Jinping is scrutinizing the ties that the country’s state banks and other financial institutions have developed with big private companies, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people with knowledge of the plan.

The inspections focus on whether state-owned banks, investment funds and financial regulators have become too friendly with private firms, especially those that have come under fire from Beijing in recent months, including debt-laden China Evergrande Group, ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc and high-profile fintech firm Ant Group, the report said.

Citic Group, one of Evergrande’s main lenders, is among the institutions being scrutinized, the report said. The company did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The examination is being led by China’s top anti-corruption agency and centers on 25 financial institutions, according to the report.

Officials from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection are reviewing files of lending, investment and regulatory records at these institutions, the report said.

The commission could not be immediately reached for comment.

The firms suspected of having engaged in inappropriate dealings are likely to be formally investigated by the Communist Party and potentially charged later, the people cited told the Wall Street Journal.

In recent months, Chinese regulators have taken aim at sectors ranging from technology to education and property, targeting some of the biggest firms in the country like Alibaba (NYSE:) Group and Tencent Holdings (HK:).

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