China seizes $1.5 billion in online lending crackdown

China's policy ministry says it investigated 380 online lenders and froze $1.5 billion in assets in a crackdown following an avalanche of scandals in the huge but lightly regulated industry.

The ministry said Monday it launched the investigation in June because the industry was increasingly risky and rife with complaints about fraud, mismanagement and waste.

Regulators have steadily tightened control over Chinese online lenders following a string of failures and fraud cases that prompted protests and complaints of official indifference to small investors.

The police ministry gave no details of arrests but said more than 100 executives were being sought by investigators and some had fled abroad.

The operator of one lender was sentenced to life in prison in 2017 on charges he defrauded investors of $7.7 billion.