China's $7.6 billion Ponzi scam highlights growing online risks

By REUTERS
February 3, 2016 01:03

 
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Once China's biggest peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, Ezubao collected 50 billion yuan ($7.6 billion) in less than two years from more than 900,000 investors through savvy marketing and the promise of big returns.

But executives at Ezubao's parent company, Yucheng Group, now say it was "a complete Ponzi scheme", which used investor funds to support a lavish lifestyle, the official Xinhua News Agency reported this week.

Among gifts that Yucheng Chairman Ding Ning gave his president, Zhang Min, were a $20 million Singapore villa, a $1.8 million pink diamond ring, luxury limousines and watches and more than $83 million in cash, Xinhua stated.

The alleged scam underscores the risks in China's fast growing and loosely regulated wealth management product industry, with many products peddled through online financial investment platforms and privately run exchanges.

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