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Stealing Chinese bankers get long jail terms in US

Two former managers of the Bank of China and their wives were sentenced yesterday in a scheme that used US banks and casinos to launder more than US$485 million stolen from the bank, federal officials said.

They were convicted on Aug. 29 by a federal jury in Las Vegas on charges of racketeering, money laundering, international transportation of stolen property and passport and visa fraud.

The former bankers laundered the stolen money through Hong Kong, Canada and the United States. They emigrated to the United States with their wives by obtaining false identities, and entered into "sham marriages" with US citizens, federal officials said in a statement.

They conducted "a significant number of transactions" with the stolen money through Las Vegas casinos, including bets that ranged from US$20,000 to US$80,000.

The two men, Xu Chaofan and Xu Guojun, were sentenced to 25 and 22 years in prison respectively. Their wives, Kuang Wan Fang and Yu Ying Yi, were each sentenced to eight years in prison. All four were sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay US$482 million in restitution.

"We will hold fully accountable those foreign nationals who abuse the financial systems of their home countries and who then, by fraudulent means, seek to live richly off their ill-gotten gains in the United States," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer.


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