The highly indebted Chinese real estate group Evergrande is in greater trouble than previously known.

Its subsidiary Evergrande Property Services discovered a problem worth billions when preparing its annual financial statements: bank balances of 13.4 billion yuan (1.9 billion euros) had been pledged as security for guarantees, the group's building service provider said on Tuesday.

The banks concerned blocked the money.

The company now wants to investigate the case.

The parent company spoke of a "major incident".

Trading in shares in Evergrande and its Hong Kong subsidiaries was surprisingly suspended on Monday.

Evergrande Property Services has long been considered the group's cash cow.

The self-listed division was recently valued higher than its parent company.

Evergrande himself had tried to sell the majority of the daughter in view of his lack of money.

However, talks with interested parties Hopson Development broke down in October.

In addition, Evergrande, the building services division and the e-car subsidiary Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group, which is also listed on the stock exchange, believe that they will not be able to submit their annual financial statements by the end of March as planned.

The group is doing the same as several other real estate companies in the country.

Evergrande cited complex tests and the effects of the recent corona wave as reasons.

The group is in a deep crisis and is considered the world's most indebted real estate company.

Evergrande had amassed more than $300 billion in debt.

In January, the group announced a restructuring plan.

The company needs to raise money to pay banks, suppliers and bondholders on time.

Some experts fear a "risk of contagion" for China's economy and beyond.

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