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Former bank chairman faces US lawsuit
Updated: 2005-03-21 15:20

Former China Construction Bank chairman Zhang Enzhao, who resigned last week amid a corruption scandal, is facing a civil lawsuit in California which alleges he took one million dollars in bribes.

Zhang Enzhao [newsphoto/file]
The South China Morning Post cited a mainland investigative Caijing magazine as saying that a lawsuit had been filed against Zhang in a California court by a Beijing-based plaintiff.

It is understood that the Chinese authorities were alerted to the bribery accusations after the lawsuit was filed in December and an investigation was launched, the paper said.

Citing court documents, Caijing magazine said a US company Grace and Digital Information Technology alleged that Zhang took bribes from ALLTEL Information Services (AIS), whom it claimed had breached a contract to award it a commission for running a marketing campaign to sell software to CCB.

Grace and Digital says its efforts also led the bank to awarding two contracts to AIS in 2001, worth 176 million dollars.

It claimed an AIS executive took Zhang and two of his friends to the exclusive Pebble Beach golf resort in California where they struck new contracts.

AIS is also alleged to have channelled the one million dollars bribe to Zhang through a Hong Kong-based company owned by a friend of Zhang.

A pedestrian walks past a branch of the China Construction Bank in Beijing in this picture taken on January 20, 2005. [newsphoto]

AIS also agreed to pay for his son's education in the UK and his wife's travel expenses between Beijing and London, the report said.

Despite the allegations, AIS denied most of the corruption charges but admitted they invited Zhang to Pebble Beach but said the bill for the golf tour, alleged to be 10,000 US dollars, was an exaggeration.

Zhang resigned for "personal reasons" last week amid reports that he was at the center of a graft investigation.

As the bank assured that his departure would not affect its assets and liabilities, he was quickly replaced by China's foreign exchange chief, Guo Shuqing.

Wen Wei Po said Saturday that seven million yuan (843,000 US dollars) in deposit slips were found at Zhang's home and that an investigation team has been set up to look into the allegations.

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