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Five plead guilty in case linked to fugitive Guo

By HOU LIQIANG | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-12 07:22

Five suspects pleaded guilty in Dalian, Liaoning province, on Friday to embezzling funds and making use of their former work posts to help fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui illegally possess 400 million yuan ($60 million).

Xigang District People's Court in Dalian publicly heard the case, in which Qu Long, a member of the board of directors of Tianjin Huatai Holding Group Co, and Zhao Yun'an, former legal representative of Huatai, were charged with fund embezzlement. Gao Song, Ma Nan and Cheng Xiuhua, who worked for Beijing Pangu Investment, which was controlled by Guo, were charged with duty encroachment.

Based on a recommendation, Zhao's wife sought out Guo to help release Zhao, who was detained in May 2008 for other suspected crimes. Guo agreed to help, but asked Zhao to lend him 100 million yuan after he was freed, prosecutors of the district said.

A month later, Zhao was freed, and he thought the release was attributed to Guo. So he suggested selling Beijing Heda, the biggest shareholder of Huatai-which was controlled by Zhao-to Guo for 300 million yuan, because he did not have the 100 million yuan he promised to lend, the prosecutors said.

Though Guo hasn't paid the money, Qu-sent by Guo-signed a share transfer agreement with Heda and then became a member of the board of directors of Huatai, making Guo holder of 74 percent of Huatai.

Guo and Qu managed to transfer about 428.7 million yuan from Huatai to a company controlled by Qu without holding meetings with the board of shareholders or board of directors after Zhao helped them get seals and a bank card needed for the transfer. Of that, 400 million yuan was used to pay back debt of Beijing Pangu Investment and Beijing Zenith Holdings, both controlled by Guo, and Guo's personal debt, said the procuratorate.

Gao, vice-general manager of Beijing Pangu; Ma, Beijing Pangu's legal director; and Cheng, an employee of Beijing Pangu's legal department, helped Guo transfer Henan Yuda Real Estate Co's debt of 360 million yuan with Yuanrun Holding Group Co (the name was changed from Huatai in November 2008) to Zhengzhou Haohang, a company that doesn't have the capacity to pay the debt, by forging documents, the procuratorate said.

Guo is the actual controlling shareholder of both Yuda and Haohang.

All five suspects attributed their misconduct to following Guo's instructions, and they said they accepted all of the charges.

"I failed to abide by the law, though I received special education on law and was in work related to law for a long time. My conduct not only will leave myself punished by law, but also has hurt my family members and relatives," Gao said, adding that he "deeply regrets" what he did.

It was the third set of trials related to Guo, who fled China under suspicion of multiple crimes in August 2014 and is currently listed on an Interpol "red notice"-the closest thing to an international arrest warrant-for wanted fugitives.

In June, three former employees of Beijing Pangu were given prison terms in the same court in Dalian for fraudulently obtaining loans and foreign currency valued at 3.2 billion yuan from the Agricultural Bank of China in the name of the company.

Three former executives of Henan Yuda Real Estate Co were convicted on Aug 4 of fraudulently obtaining loans and bill acceptance of nearly 1.5 billion yuan by registering shell corporations, forging contracts and employing fake investment projects from 2008 to 2015. Two of them were given prison terms by a court in Henan province.

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