Ant Group refutes rumors about Hangzhou official under investigation for buying stocks in its IPO
Published: Aug 23, 2021 01:45 AM
Photo taken on Oct. 15, 2020 shows the headquarters of Ant Group in east China's Hangzhou city.Photo:Xinhua

Photo taken on Oct. 15, 2020 shows the headquarters of Ant Group in east China's Hangzhou city. Photo:Xinhua

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's financial arm Ant Group refuted online rumors that a senior Hangzhou government official, who is now under disciplinary investigation, bought shares of the company during its IPO. 

"Ant Group had strictly followed laws and regulations of both markets in the previous IPO process, which is open and transparent. The rumors about certain person taking shares in the company is false, not to mention sudden share buying or refund," the company said in a statement released on Sunday. 

Ant Group also said it had never cooperated with the lawyer firms or lawyers mentioned in the rumors and that it will resort to legal procedures to safeguard its legitimate rights.

The company rolled out the statement shortly afterward an article about Zhou Jiangyong, who was member of the Standing Committee of the Zhejiang Provincial Party Committee and Secretary of the Hangzhou Municipal Party Committee, started to circulate on the internet. 

Zhou allegedly committed serious disciplinary and legal violations and is now under disciplinary review and supervision investigation by China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the State Supervision Commission, noted a statement published online by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. 

According to the article, a lawyer named Hu Minchun had reported Zhou's criminal action to the authorities after he did not help Hu save her husband who is also under disciplinary investigation. One of Hu's clues is that Zhou's family spent 500 million yuan ($76.9 million) to buy stocks of a "Zhejiang fintech company" prior to the company's IPO. After the company failed to get listed, 520 million yuan were refunded to Zhou. 

Although the article did not mention the company's name, many netizens have linked the company to Ant Group, whose $34 billion stock debut in Shanghai and Hong Kong was called off last November. 

Zhou is also considered by foreign media as a supporter of Alibaba. In 2019, he presented Alibaba founder Jack Ma Yun with a certificate of meritorious Hangzhou citizen. 

In April, China slapped a record 18 billion yuan fine on Alibaba after an anti-monopoly probe found the e-commerce giant had abused its dominant market position for years.