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Foreign exchange dealer awaits court verdict

A man pleaded guilty to illegal trading of foreign exchanges valued over 36 million yuan (US$5.49 million) at a court hearing yesterday.

Yuan Miaogen, 59, begged for probation, saying he was in poor health, but prosecutors insisted that he should be jailed for illegal business due to such a large amount of transactions.

The Pudong New Area People's Court didn't hand down the verdict after the hearing.

Yuan started the illegal foreign exchange trade in 2003 after he was laid off. "I had to earn money to support my family though I knew it was illegal," Yuan told the court.

He printed name cards and distributed them to potential clients outside three banks in Huangpu District.

Clients who needed to buy or sell foreign exchanges would call him and discuss the exchange rate. Afterwards, they would meet to do the deal. Yuan gave cash to the client and the client would transfer money to Yuan's account, the court heard.

Yuan bought foreign currencies at rates higher than the bank while sold foreign currencies at rates lower than the bank to earn a small price difference, he said.

The foreign currencies he traded included US dollar, euro, yen, Hong Kong dollar and Canadian dollar.

"I earned a price difference of only 0.5 yuan for trading every 100 US dollars or euros," Yuan told the court.

Most clients asked to buy foreign currencies from Yuan. The defendant said he bought foreign currencies first from scalpers and then sold them to clients.

"The clients bought foreign currencies for overseas travel, sending children to study abroad, and investing in the stock market," Yuan said. "None of them used foreign currencies for illegal purposes."

Prosecutors charged that from July 2007 to September 2010 Yuan traded more than 36 million yuan of foreign exchanges in grave violation of the country's law and foreign exchange regulations.


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