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Couple sue friends in apartment dispute

A GERMAN and his Chinese wife yesterday accused their friends, a Chinese couple, of trying to claim ownership of their apartment.

Klaus Neumann, 46, and his wife, Wang Xiaoqun, asked Pudong New Area People's Court to rule that they owned the apartment in Yanlord Town and order the defendants to change the names on the property certificate.

Wang said she and her husband had bought a 171-square-meter apartment for 2.32 million yuan (US$339,226) from Shanghai Yanlord Real Estate Co Ltd in February 2006. They paid almost 700,000 yuan in cash and applied for a bank loan of 1.62 million yuan.

Because Neumann didn't want to lose his US$2,400 rent allowance, the couple asked Li Sujun and her husband, Wu Shugang, to buy the apartment in their names, Wang said.

As a result, the names of the Chinese couple were registered on the property certificate while the loan was in the name of the Neumanns. On April 27, 2006, Neumann signed an agreement with Li to rent the apartment in order to get his rent allowance. The two sides agreed that the allowance transferred to Li's account should be used to pay the loan, Wang said.

But when the couple asked their friends to change the names on the property certificate in January 2008, they claimed they were the owners.

Wu told the court they had paid 45,000 yuan of the 700,000 yuan down-payment and had borrowed the rest from the Neumanns. They made the loan payments and had the property certificate.

But the court heard there was no evidence they had paid the loan. Wu said they didn't keep bank receipts because they had never expected to be sued. However, the Neumanns did provide some deposit receipts to the court.

The court didn't return a verdict yesterday but another hearing is to be held after the Chinese couple asked for further investigation of the evidence provided by the Neumanns.


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