COMMENTARY: Ant Financial is a Potential Security Threat

The Trump administration must decide whether to allow China’s Ant Financial to acquire American financial services company MoneyGram for $880 million.  At the very least, the administration should put the sale on hold until the administration and Congress reorganize the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a process currently underway.  It would take an important step towards updating our definition of security threats.

The New York Times describes Ant Financial’s purchase as the “first test of the Trump administration’s stance on foreign investment.”  Ant Financial used to be part of the Alibaba empire under the name Alipay, until founder Jack Ma transferred ownership of it to a company that he controlled without the knowledge of Alibaba’s investors, one of which was Yahoo.  In the end, Alipay got renamed Ant Financial, got sued and the Chinese government became one of its largest shareholders.

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