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China halts scores of IPO plans amid underwriter, law firm probe

12 suspended in STAR Market, 48 in ChiNext as regulators investigate intermediaries

Plans for listings on Shanghai's tech-heavy STAR Market are among those suspended amid a regulatory probe.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI (Reuters) -- Chinese bourses have halted processing at least 60 initial public offering (IPO) applications as regulators investigate intermediaries in the deals, including Deutsche Bank's Chinese securities venture.

Exchange disclosures on Wednesday showed 12 IPO plans in Shanghai's tech-heavy STAR Market and 48 in Shenzhen's start-up market ChiNext were suspended.

Each had hired one or more of three companies being investigated by securities regulators - Zhong De Securities Co, accountancy firm SineWing and law firm King&Wood Mallesons - the exchange filings said. Zhong De is a joint venture between Shanxi Securities and Deutsche Bank AG.

All three companies served Leshi Internet Information and Technology, which the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) last March said conducted accounting fraud between 2007 and 2016.

King&Wood Mallesons and Zhong De said they had no immediate comment. SineWing and Deutsche Bank could not immediately be reached for comment.

Shanxi Securities said in an exchange filing on Jan. 18 that Zhong De would fully cooperate with the CSRC's investigation into suspected law violations when it underwrote sales for Leshi in 2016.

It was not immediately clear if IPOs targeting the Beijing Stock Exchange were also affected.

Chinese bourses have halted processing batches of IPO applications previously as regulators investigated intermediaries.

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