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May 10, 2011

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Ayi accused of embezzling 5m yuan from client

RELATIVES of a dead businessman are suing his former ayi, claiming she embezzled property worth more than 5 million yuan (US$769,231) from her employer.

At a hearing yesterday, the domestic helper, surnamed Zhang, argued that as she had a degree of law she worked not only as an ayi but also as a financial adviser to the businessman, whose surname was Zhou.

Zhang said she helped Zhou invest in the stock market and transfer money to his business friends, and was paid for the service.

The Hongkou District People's Court didn't hand down the verdict after the hearing.

Zhou's wife and three children said Zhang was hired in October 2004 on a monthly salary of 800 yuan to look after the elderly man who lived alone in Shanghai and was involved in real estate.

Zhou had been a county director who later became a businessman. When he died in January 2010, aged 73, he left a company with assets of millions of yuan and some real estate to his family.

But after his death, Zhou's family discovered one of his apartments had been made over to Zhang and she had sold it for 1.7 million yuan.

In addition, Zhou had transferred 550,000 yuan to Zhang's account.

"Though evidence shows Zhou transferred the property voluntarily, he didn't have the right to deal with the apartment and money without his wife's agreement as they were co-owned by the couple," said Li Ciling, attorney of the plaintiffs.

What's more, Zhang withdrew 2.88 million yuan from Zhou's account without his approval and embezzled it, the plaintiffs accused.

Zhang argued she provided excellent service to Zhou and won his trust. When she began working as Zhou's financial adviser in January 2005 her monthly salary was increased to 20,000 yuan.

She said she didn't take the salary every month because Zhou promised to make investments for her.

Because Zhou couldn't walk freely after he suffered a stroke, he gave his account and PIN code to Zhang, entrusting her to help him invest and draw cash, the defendant said.

Zhang claimed some of the money she is accused of embezzling was bonuses, including the investment profits. Other cash was withdrawn for Zhou's living expenses or to be transferred to his friends under his instructions.

The plaintiffs doubted the explanation, however, claiming there was no evidence that the money had been spent as Zhang said.

In addition, they could find no contract to prove an ayi could earn such a high salary.


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