THE Chinese authorities have arrested 62 suspects abroad and seized $1.5bn (£1.2bn) in assets from peer-to-peer platforms accused of illegal fundraising.
Around 380 P2P platforms have had assets confiscated since June in a crackdown on fraud in the space.
China’s public security ministry said it brought back the 62 criminal suspects from 16 countries including Thailand and Cambodia, reported Reuters.
The arrests are part of President Xi Jinping’s war on corruption, in which government officials and business executive who have left the country to hide abroad with their assets are brought back to face charges.
China’s P2P industry is huge, with $218bn in outstanding loans recorded last year, according to Reuters, and more than 3,500 lenders in operation at the peak of the market in 2015. But investigations have found that fraudulent P2P operators promised high returns but falsified investments, leading to heavy losses for investors.
In January, a research firm covering the sector predicted that 70 per cent of Chinese P2P lenders will close this year, leaving as few as 300 companies still trading, Bloomberg reported. The number of operators dropped by more than half to 1,021 last year, with no new entrants to the space since August.