Ant Group is connected to former Hangzhou party secretary's corruption case - FT

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A man walks past an Ant Group logo at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China July 8, 2021. REUTERS/Yilei Sun/File Photo

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SHANGHAI, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Ant Group is connected to a corruption scandal involving the former party secretary of Chinese technology hub Hangzhou, the Financial Times reported on Friday, citing public records and sources.

The newspaper, citing public records and two sources close to the deals, said that a unit of Ant Group bought two plots of land at a discount in Hangzhou in 2019 after taking stakes in two mobile payment businesses owned by the younger brother of the party secretary, Zhou Jiangyong.

The Ant subsidiary was Shanghai Yunxin Venture Capital Management Co, the newspaper said.

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State broadcaster CCTV named the two mobile payment businesses in a show it aired on Wednesday on the corruption probe into Zhou, who came under investigation by China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CDDI) in August.

The CCTV documentary alleged that private companies, which it did not name, were helped by Zhou to acquire cheap land and enjoy preferential policies after they bought shares in these firms controlled by his brother. It did not name Ant.

Ant did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Ant is the financial affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group (9988.HK). Both companies are headquartered in Hangzhou.

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Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Editing by Kim Coghill

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