Chinese online payment platform Ant Financial Services Groups, an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group (BABA), published an open letter today to the MoneyGram International Inc. (MGI) community regarding the proposed acquisition of MoneyGram. (See also: MoneyGram Sale to Chinese Firm Could Be Security Risk: US Officials.)

This comes after recent comments from U.S. officials that the acquisition could pose security risks to the U.S. The officials, which included Rep. Robert Pittenger, a North Carolina Republican, who is the vice chairman of the Task Force on Terrorist Financing, said the deal could grant the Chinese government access to sensitive financial and personal data of Americans who transfer money through MoneyGram. Institutions fully or partially owned by the Chinese government collectively hold an over 14 percent stake in Ant Financial.

Ant Financial agreed to buy MoneyGram in a deal reportedly valued at $880 million in January. Kansas-based Euronet Worldwide Inc. (EEFT), however, offered up a counter bid reported to be around $1 billion last month, with CEO Michael Brown also saying the involvement of the Chinese government in Ant Financial poses security risk. The comment from Brown is testament to the growing competition in the international transfer space.

In the open letter, addressed to MoneyGram employees, agents, customers and partners, Ant Financial Head of International Operations Douglas Feagin assured MoneyGram customers that any data provided in the U.S. would remain in highly secured U.S.-based servers, adding that Ant Financial takes the security of customer data seriously. Ant Financial will also expand MoneyGram’s investment in global compliance and anti-money laundering initiatives, Feagin added.

Feagin also wrote that the Chinese payment platform plans to expand MoneyGram’s operation beyond remittance in coming years. The company didn’t state the areas into which it plans to expand. The American money transfer company already has a money-transfer-as-a-service platform, dubbed MoneyGram Kameleon, which allows agents and partners of MoneyGram to integrate MoneyGram’s payment platform into its websites. In essence, the Kameleon allows for the transfer of money right from agents’ websites. MoneyGram is currently expanding this offering to financial institution, retailers and telecommunication companies. 

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