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Bank officials flee after US$120m go missing
Updated: 2005-01-24 16:40

Two senior Bank of China officials are missing and believed to have fled China after up to one billion yuan (120 million US dollars) was embezzled from a branch of the bank, a press report said.

The bank has sent a team to the Hesong Street sub-branch in northeastern Harbin city, Heilongjiang province, to investigate, the South China Morning Post said, citing unidentified sources.

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

Newspapers in Hunan and Shanxi reported that company chairman Zhang Xiaoguang had been arrested for misappropriating funds.

An initial investigation indicated that more than 700 million yuan deposited at the sub-branch by other companies was also unaccounted for, the daily said.

Two senior bankers, one in charge of the branch's lending department, were missing and believed to have fled to the United States or Canada, the newspaper said.

It comes after the bank announced it had beefed up its corporate governance and internal control mechanisms after the arrest of a former chief executive of its Hong Kong operations who allegedly embezzled more than 41 million yuan.

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