Chinese grab for U.S. money transfer giant sets off alarms – By BRYAN BENDER 04/01/17 07:11 AM EDT


The purchase by Ant Financial, which is partially owned by the Chinese government, poses a test for the Treasury Department oversight body.

A Chinese company’s plans to acquire U.S. money transfer giant MoneyGram is raising fears that the communist government in Beijing could gain sensitive intelligence on Americans’ personal and financial information — including data on thousands of government employees and military personnel.

The purchase by Ant Financial, which is partially owned by the Chinese government, also poses a test for the 42-year-old Treasury Department oversight body that has been asked to review the deal to determine any security risks.

Lawmakers, national security experts and veterans of the review process say the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is ill-designed to assess all the national security implications of international mergers in the age of information — including the often-blurry picture of who actually controls foreign firms or who has access to an international company’s sensitive data.

Moreover, they say, it is severely understaffed to handle the rising number of complicated cases and lacks the authority to address evolving threats in telecommunications, media, agriculture and other industries.

In the case of Ant Financial’s proposed acquisition of MoneyGram, critics say, the fallout could include exposing personal data on millions of Americans.

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