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Billionaire Ant Group Co. co-founder Jack Ma skipped a recent taping of an African TV program he created, spurring speculation online about his whereabouts and the outcome of an investigation into his internet empire.

Ma hasn’t been seen in public since Chinese regulators torpedoed Ant’s $35 billion IPO, then tightened fintech regulations and launched an antitrust probe into Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. — all in a span of days. The Financial Times on Friday reported that the showrunners of the Shark Tank-like “Africa’s Business Heroes” replaced him as a judge in a November telecast and removed his photo from the show’s website, around the same time Ma delivered his now-infamous rebuke of the “pawnshop” mentalities of government overseers.

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