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Equifax breach could hurt Jack Ma’s acquisition of MoneyGram

Jack Ma may turn out to be the most high-profile victim of the Equifax cyber-attack.

A multi-agency presidential advisory panel weighing the approval of the $1.2 billion purchase of MoneyGram by the Chinese billionaire’s Ant Financial has recently started to consider the possibility of data theft by foreign countries as part of the review process, two sources with direct knowledge of the panel’s thinking told The Post.

Previously, the panel focused narrowly on more traditional national security issues.

MoneyGram has 30,000 US locations and tens of millions of global customers. That Ant Financial’s investors include state-owned Chinese pension funds could give the panel pause, the sources said.

The massive hack of Equifax’s database by an unknown cyber-thief — which put the Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and other personal data of as many as 143 million Americans at risk — will only heighten the sensitivity of the panel to data theft, sources said.

There are suspicions a foreign government may have been behind the Equifax attack.

The panel has already established a tough stance on acquisition by Chinese companies of US firms.

President Trump on Wednesday backed the recommendation of the multi-agency panel and blocked a Chinese-backed investor from buying Lattice Semiconductor.

The panel, called the Congressional Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, is nearing the end of its review of the Ant-MoneyGram deal, sources said.

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“It is getting harder and harder for China to get deals done here,” a source working on the MoneyGram review said.

In the Lattice deal, the proposed acquirer, Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, a private equity firm, has a Chinese investor, Yitai Capital, which was expected to invest in the deal.

MoneyGram told The Post it does not have sensitive data, and the vast majority of remittance transfers require only a name, address and date of birth.

Ant Financial declined comment on its CFIUS review. It expects the deal to close by Dec. 31. Ma in July met with a CFIUS panel member, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and has met with Trump.

Source: http://nypost.com/2017/09/14/equifax-breach-could-hurt-jack-mas-acquisition-of-moneygram/

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