Front Page of the Day

Two crooked Chinese bank officials convicted in the US

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New Express
May 8, 2009

As the one year anniversary of the May 12 Beichuan Earthquake approaches, today's papers prominently featured newly-released statistics on the number of people killed in the disaster. The top headline on the cover of today's New Express reads "5,335 students dead or still missing."

Underneath a main photo showing a grave in Beichuan, the township hardest-hit by the quake, is a headline about two former managers of a Bank of China branch in Kaiping, Guangdong Province. Xu Chaofan and Xu Guojun were given prison sentences of 25 and 22 years, respectively, by a US district court in Nevada on May 6 for their roles in a scheme to defraud at least $485 million from the financial institution. Their wives, Kuang Wanfang and Yu Yingyi, each received eight years of prison time.

The four were found guilty of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and conspiracy to transport. The former managers were also convicted of visa fraud, and their wives were convicted of passport fraud.

The court also ordered the convicts to return the stolen money, but the value of the seized properties was far below the stipulated amount.

Yu Zhendong, a third former manager of the bank who was also involved in the case, pled guilty to charges including money laundering, entering the United States with forged documents, and immigration fraud, and was sentenced to 144 months in prison in a federal court in Las Vegas in February 2004. That year, Yu was turned over to China authorities on the promise that he would receive no stiffer sentence than what he was given in the US.

Xinhua published an article analyzing the case, concluded that criminals who "plead guilty and return to China" are better off, citing various cases.

The headline at the bottom of the paper reports that the former leader of Taiwan, Chen Shuibian, "trembled and cried" when he was on trial yesterday.

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