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Shanghai property mogul stands trial
(Shenzhen Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-21 09:28

A Shanghai court has begun hearing corruption charges against Zhou Zhengyi, a property tycoon who was arrested last year on charges of fraud and stock manipulation, a newspaper reported Thursday.

Zhou Zhengyi
Zhou, also known as Chau Ching-ngai, is accused of falsifying figures for registered investments and manipulating stock trading prices, said the brief notice in the China Securities Journal.

Zhou’s wife and business partner, Mo Yuk-ping, is under investigation by Hong Kong’s anti-graft agency, the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

The case against Zhou, once of China’s wealthiest businessmen, also tarnished a branch of the Bank of China. Its Hong Kong unit, BOC Hong Kong, vowed to improve its lending practices after questions were raised about a HK$1.77 billion (US$226.9 million) loan to a company owned by Zhou.

The BOC recalled a former chief executive of the Hong Kong branch, Liu Jinbao, to Beijing and then dismissed him.

Zhou, a Shanghai native, made his millions running restaurants and retail outlets before moving into property development. In 2002, Forbes magazine ranked him China’s 11th-richest man, with a fortune estimated at US$320 million.

The tycoon is also being sued by 2,000 residents of a Shanghai neighborhood who say he failed to compensate them adequately for demolishing their homes as part of a redevelopment project.

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