Bank chief arrested after manhunt

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-02-23 06:45

VANCOUVER: Hearings continued yesterday on the detention of a Chinese banker who disappeared after allegedly siphoning nearly 1 billion yuan ($128 million) from the accounts of his bank customers, Canada's National Post reported.

The whereabouts of Gao Shan, 42, had been a mystery until last Sunday when police and immigration officials arrested him at a Vancouver home.

The search to find the former head of the Bank of China in Harbin, Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, spanned the globe, with both Canadian and Chinese authorities looking for him in the United Kingdom, the United States and South Korea.

Chinese authorities recently openly asked Canada for Gao's extradition, believing Canadian authorities knew where he was.

Statements from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reveal Gao has been under police surveillance for at least a year. He is now being held for allegedly lying about his occupation when he entered Canada.

His wife, Li Xue, and their 17-year-old daughter were also arrested for misrepresenting information when entering the country.

Gao's wife and daughter were released, but all three family members will have to appear at immigration proceedings on March 6.

Gao, meanwhile, has been held on the grounds that he's a flight risk.

Bank of China, the country's largest foreign exchange bank, confirmed in early 2005 that one of its sub-branches in Heilongjiang was involved in financial fraud.

The scandal emerged on January 15 when Northeast Expressway, a Shanghai-listed A-share company, announced that 290 million yuan ($37.17 million) of shareholders' funds deposited with the branch was missing.

Gao, director of a division of the branch, reportedly vanished following the disappearance of the money.

Deposits by other companies, amounting to as much as 700 million yuan ($89.74 million), also vanished.

China Daily

(China Daily 02/23/2007 page1)

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