China recovers over $1.5 billion of assets in online lending fraud case: Xinhua

A booth of Ezubao, once China's biggest P2P lending platform, is seen during an exhibition in Beijing, China, September 12, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China has recovered more than 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) of illegal assets since launching a fraud investigation into an online lending platform, the official Xinhua news agency quoted the Beijing public security bureau as saying on Wednesday.

China’s regulators have been cracking down on the country’s fast expanding peer-to-peer (P2P) sector, warning in August that almost half of the 4,000-odd online lending platforms were “problematic”.

China’s police have seized nearly 300 million yuan in cash, 187,000 grams of gold, as well as real estate, jewelry, stock equities, luxury cars, and helicopters from online peer-to-peer (P2P) platform Ezubao, Xinhua said.

Ezubao had been in operation for 18 months before it was shut down by police in December 2015. The police found that almost all the investment projects on the company website were fake, the news agency said.

Following the investigation, the Beijing police transferred the case to prosecutors in August. Of the 26 suspects, 11 will stand trial for fraud, while the other 15 have been charged with illegal fundraising, Xinhua said.

Neither the Beijing public security bureau nor Ezubao could immediately be contacted for comment.

Reporting by Lee Chyen Yee in Singapore; Editing by Mark Potter