Chinese authorities imposed fines on US due diligence firm Mintz Group of around $1.5 million for gathering statistics in an illegal fashion.
(Bloomberg) — Chinese authorities imposed fines on US due diligence firm Mintz Group of around $1.5 million for gathering statistics in an illegal fashion.
In a statement, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics said the company violated the law when it conducted 37 projects between March 2019 to July 2022. Mintz engaged in “foreign-related statistics and surveys” without obtaining the proper licenses for such activities, the statement said without elaborating. Mintz didn’t reply to a request for comment.
News of the penalties was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
In March, officials raided Mintz’s offices in Beijing and detained five of its Chinese employees. China’s foreign ministry said at the time the company was suspected of illegal business operations.
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Global companies providing due diligence services in China have been a target of investigation in the past as Xi Jinping’s government tightens control over data privacy and national security. In 2014, two foreign investigators were accused of illegally obtaining personal information on Chinese citizens.
More recently, China launched a nationwide anti-espionage crackdown on consulting firms, according to state media, accusing one global company of leaking state secrets and having ties with foreign intelligence agencies.
Randy Phillips, the CIA’s former chief representative in China, worked for Mintz.
In April, American consultancy Bain & Company confirmed that Chinese authorities had questioned staff at its Shanghai office.
The following month, Chinese state security officials visited a branch of Capvision, a consulting firm with headquarters in New York and Shanghai.
Beijing is intensifying a crackdown on alleged spies for the US, with the Chinese Ministry of State Security saying Monday it’s investigating a 39-year-old ministry official identified by his surname Hao for providing information to the CIA in exchange for money.
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