China’s Tencent faces possible record fine for anti-money-laundering violations – WSJ

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FILE PHOTO: Logo of Tencent is seen at its booth at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing

– Tencent Holdings Ltd is facing a potential fine, which could be at least hundreds of millions of yuan, for violating some central bank regulations on its WeChat Pay mobile network, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Financial regulators recently found that WeChat Pay had broken China’s anti-money-laundering rules and had lapses in compliance with “know your customer” and “know your business” regulations, the Journal said.

Tencent and China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment. Shares in the Chinese technology giant fell around 10% on the report.

The PBOC uncovered the violations during a routine inspection of WeChat Pay that concluded in late 2021, according to the Journal.

The mobile payments network was also found to have permitted the transfer and laundering of funds with illicit transactions such as gambling, the report said.

Last year, China fined Alibaba Group Holding Ltd a record 18 billion yuan ($2.83 billion) for the company’s anti-monopoly violations.

China recently launched a three-year campaign led by the PBOC and the Ministry of Public Security, to fight money laundering.

($1 = 6.3597 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru; editing by Carmel Crimmins)

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