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Investment 'guru' arrested in fraud case

SHANGHAI prosecutors have approved the arrest of Jian Fan, a self-styled financial guru who called himself the city's "Oracle of Omaha," borrowing the nickname of super-investor Warren Buffet.

Jian was charged with contract fraud, but prosecutors declined to say how much money was allegedly involved. Earlier police reports said investors claimed they lost more than 20 million yuan (US$2.9 million) in dealings with Jian.

Among his promotional exploits, Jian spent US$50,000 to have dinner with Jim Rogers in 2007 when the well-known stock investor and financial professor came to Shanghai for a visit.

Jian, 35, formed Shanghai Xinglue Investment Co Ltd in 2006. He claimed the firm was associated with "an international investment company that had long been engaged in stock investment in the United States," and "the operation group members came from the Wall Street."

The company said it had long-term strategic cooperation with Rogers.

Jian gave frequent lectures to tout his claims of successful stock picks, and he published regular weekly columns on investment in a local newspaper.

He later began recruiting clients for his stock investment services, with middle-aged and elderly people the major targets, the Shanghai Law Journal reported.

Jian also conducted training classes, charging from 5,000 yuan to 8,000 yuan a month, and offered stock investment service to his students.

He encouraged investors to send money to his accounts for investment in stock index futures and gold futures, according to the newspaper.

When the nation's stock markets plummeted, investors who entrusted their investments to Jian reportedly suffered major losses and were unable to retrieve their capital.

More than 200 people complained to police. Jian was apprehended on March 12.

The exact amount of money involved in the case remains under investigation by prosecutors.


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