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China enhances crackdown on capital market fraud

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-03-15 13:52

BEIJING - World Consumer Rights Day has arrived, and China plans to enhance its crackdown on capital market fraud.

The country's top securities regulator, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), announced last Friday that it would impose the maximum penalty on office service provider China Nine Top and AnShan Heavy Duty Mining Machinery for severe violations of information disclosure rules.

China Nine Top is reported to have inflated its revenue and bank deposits while covering up an assets gap in order to restructure with the listed company AnShan Heavy Duty Mining Machinery.

Besides exposing companies faking assets to get listed, securities watchdogs have punished other capital market counterfeit practices such as inflating financial performance to avoid delisting, and fraudulent initial public offerings using fake documents.

In order to stay on the stock market, a property developer close to being delisted due to poor financial performance turned a profit from a loss in 2016 by selling part of its equity at an over-valued price in the fourth quarter, according to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

There will be enhanced supervision over year-end asset selling, and restructuring to crack down upon profit manipulation, according to the stock exchange.

In February, the CSRC announced 20 representative illegal stock market cases of 2016, including the high-profile case of Dandong Xintai Electric, the first company to be forced to delist from the Chinese stock market due to IPO disclosure cheating.

"We will continue to expose some influential fraud cases in areas like restructuring and acquisition," said Liu Shiyu, head of the CSRC, late February. "For wrongdoings on the capital markets, we will follow and treat them in a timely and tough manner."

The CSRC imposed 139 administrative punishment decisions last year, 13 as cases of financial fraud.

"Listed companies are profit-seeking, and it seems that they can get more than what they might have to pay for, by cheating, so they make reckless moves to try their luck," said Tian Lihui, a financial professor with Nankai University. "So there should be harsher punishment, and most importantly, improvement of the legal framework of the capital market, such as stricter requirements for information disclosure."

Meanwhile, regulators are also working on improving the delisting mechanism to improve the overall quality of the stock market and regulate backdoor listing.

"The CSRC will require stricter information disclosure to deter financial cheating, urge intermediaries like accounting agencies and stock exchanges to fulfill due responsibility and modify delisting standards," said Jiang Yang, deputy head of the CSRC, last week.

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