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Petty accountant embezzles big money
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-18 22:58

Bian Zhong, an accountant with the National Natural Science Foundation of China accused of embezzling 222.6 million yuan (US$27 million)went to trial Monday at the Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court.

The case reportedly involves the largest monetary amount to be dealt with by the Beijing Municipal People's Procuratorate in recent years.

The foundation is an organization directly affiliated to the State Council for the management of the National Natural Science Fund.

No judgment was reached Monday.

The court also held a lawsuit Monday in which the Royal Philips sued the Patent Re-examination Committee with the China State Intellectual Property Office.

Philips required the court to withdraw the decision by the committee, which announced the invalidity of the design patent on electric flat iron owned by Philips.

The decision by the committee was made in response to the appeal from three domestic companies.

The committee believed that Philips' patent is similar with the previous patent owned by Zhang Jianjie.

But sources with Philips said their patent is neither the same nor similar with Zhang's patent.

The prosecutors took 41-year-old Bian Zhong, an accountant with the public fund management department at the natural science foundation, and 40-year-old Wu Feng, vice-director of the department, to court, alleging Bian misappropriated public funds, while Wu faces a charge of dereliction.

According to the indictment by the procuratorate, Bian transferred public funds of 12.6 million yuan (US$1.5 million)to the accounts of several companies.

"Bian achieved this through forging banking documents in the name of paying bills to organizations that applied for money from the National Natural Science Foundation, between 1999 and 2002," Cheng Jin, the public prosecutor said.

Earlier, before the accused illegal fund transfers during 1995-98, the two defendants lent public funds of 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million) to a Guangzhou-based trading company in order to make profits, the indictment said.

From April to December in 2002, Bian transferred funds of 105.5 million yuan (US$12.8 million) to two Beijing-based companies for profit by falsifying bank documents, according to the prosecutor.

Bian was also accused of transferring 77.3 million yuan (US$9.3 million) to a Beijing-based company during March to November of 2002.

Bian allegedly moved public funds of 17.1 million yuan (US$2 million) to a Beijing-based company in January of last year shortly before he was arrested.

There are still 4.3 million yuan (US$510,000) in funds that are missing, believed to have been embezzled by Bian.

Bian admitted to the charges in the indictment by the procuratorate yesterday in court.

But Bian said he did not use much of the public funds embezzled since most of the money remains in the accounts of other individuals.

Bian was arrested by police last February. Wu was taken into custody two months later.

In 2002, Qin Dengcai, director of the financial department of the foundation, was sentenced to imprisonment of six months by the Beijing Haidian District People's Court for dereliction of duties.

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