Shi Yuzhu, president of Giant Interactive. (Photo/CFP)
The chairman and chief executive officer of Shanghai-based online game developer Giant Interactive Group, Shi Yuzhu, has said in a statement to Henan's Dahe Daily that his company is willing to cooperate with authorities in their investigation into allegations the company is involved in money laundering activities.
Some customers of Giant Interactive's gaming services have reported unauthorized direct debits being paid to the company without notification. Some consumer rights activists have gone further, accusing the company of serving as a money laundering platform.
This incident has thrust the well-known Shi once again into the public spotlight.
Shi had previously stated that criminals had accessed customers' bank accounts by way of a trojan virus which they used to gain a back door to personal computers and then transfer victims' money to their own accounts, disguising the debits as payments for gaming services.
As the Chinese New Year approaches, many internet users in China are booking train and airplane tickets or shopping online. Some have found that regardless of whether they had made any online transactions, money had been taken from their bank accounts and and paid to Giant Interactive.
The people engaging in this fraud were actually purchasing the came cards for themselves to later resell for cash.
Commenting on the fraud, a consumer rights activist told the Dahe Daily reporter that Giant had served as a money laundering platform for a long time, as customers' money was transferred to the company's accounts when they made online transactions.
On Jan. 14, the company confirmed in a microblog post that it had helped the police close more than 30 gaming accounts due to suspected fraud. The company is also working with third-party payment platforms, including Alipay, to improve security for online banking payments.