Photo: Reuters / Heinz-Peter Bader

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Jack Ma’s struggle to finalize a deal with US money transfer firm MoneyGram — first signed in January of last year — is finally over.

Despite extensive efforts, the Ma-controlled Chinese fintech giant, Ant Financial, and MoneyGram announced on Wednesday they were unable to convince US authorities to let the deal go through.

Chief Executive Officer of MoneyGram, Alex Holmes, cited politics as the reason for the failure. “The geopolitical environment has changed considerably since we first announced the proposed transaction with Ant Financial nearly a year ago,” he was quoted as saying in a joint statement released by the two companies.

“Despite our best efforts to work cooperatively with the US government, it has now become clear that CFIUS [The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US] will not approve this merger,” he added

The failure confirms the increasingly hostile environment in the US regarding Chinese investments. It also shows the limited effect of Jack Ma’s efforts to cultivate a relationship with Trump. Ma promised to bring one million jobs to the US when he met with the then US president-elect in a high-profile visit in January last year – several weeks before he signed the initial deal with MoneyGram.

In the joint statement, however, the two companies also announced plans for cooperation.

Ant Financial and MoneyGram “plan to work together on new strategic initiatives in the remittance and digital payments markets that will help each company achieve its objective of enabling consumers around the world to enjoy better money transfer services,” the statement said.

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