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September 18, 2009

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Bogus trader loses jail-sentence appeal

A TAIWANESE man lost his appeal and was yesterday jailed for five years in Shanghai for operating as an unlicensed trader and soliciting 21 clients to buy Hong Kong stock futures.

The victims suffered losses of nearly 950,000 yuan (US$139,080).

He could not have picked a worse time for his crime - right in the middle of the global financial crisis and plunging markets.

Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court judges reached their decision on Wednesday on the man, surnamed Liu, convicted of running an illegal business operation.

Liu was also fined 100,000 yuan.

Liu registered Shanghai Zhuoji Investment Consulting Co Ltd in the city in April 2008 and started a securities and futures business without government approval.

Liu claimed his company was an agent of a Hong Kong firm that was licensed to trade in Hang Seng stock index futures and was registered to conduct business from Shanghai.

After finding phone numbers of local stock investors and car owners on the Internet, Liu hired some staff to call people at random to promote the futures trade.

The clients would be given an account number and password to log onto Zhuoji's Website and buy the futures online after sending at least 20,000 yuan to Liu's bank accounts, the court said.

The clients could win or lose percentages of their investments depending on fluctuations in the index. They were also charged 500 yuan for each transaction, Liu told the court.

From April 2008 to September 2008, Zhuoji recruited the 21 clients to join the futures trade.

The clients put in 1.31 million yuan and lost 941,550 yuan.

Changning District People's Court earlier jailed Liu for five years, a decision upheld on Wednesday.

The basis of Liu's appeal was that he was only an accessory hired by the company. The intermediate court found the company was solely controlled and managed by Liu.


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