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Former executive on trial for corruption

A FORMER senior executive of several state-owned companies went on trial in Shanghai yesterday on charges that he illegally acquired assets worth 17.25 million yuan (US$2.53 million), took 8.35 million yuan in bribes and embezzled 57 million yuan.

The defendant, Fan Xian, a 55-year-old local native, had been vice president of Shanghai Huayi (Group) Corp, board chairman of Double Coin Holdings Ltd and board chairman of Shanghai Soap (Group) Co, among other positions. He was known in local business circles for an ability to turn unprofitable companies into money makers.

At yesterday's hearing in Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court, Fan denied most of the charges, though he did admit his family may have accepted bribes.

He was admonished by the chief judge for evading prosecutors' questions, often answering "I can't remember clearly" or "I don't know."

Part of the case centers on actions taken by Fan from June 2002 to August 2005 in connection with Shanghai Senling Real Estate Development Co Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Soap Group, a conglomerate that makes daily necessities.

Fan decided to transform the state-owned real estate company into a privately owned firm in late 2002. The transformation scheme, however, was never approved by authorities, prosecutors said.

During the transformation, Fan, together with Chen Jie, Senling's general manager, hid 17.25 million yuan worth of state-owned assets held by Senling. Fan bought 25 percent of the shares of the transformed company in Chen's name, and Chen held another 27 percent, the court heard.

"It wasn't good for me to have shares in a transformed company as board chairman of its parent company. So I hid my shares in Chen's name," Fan said. Chen is being dealt with in a separate case.

From June 2003 to February 2008, Fan allegedly accepted 3.35 million yuan in bribes from business partners Cao Bo and his son, Cao Chao, to provide help in the purchase of the Rugao, Jiangsu Province, branch of Double Coin, a tire company. Fan allegedly pocketed 5 million yuan worth of shares of in a hotel in Jiangsu from Zhang Yaming, legal representative of the Rugao branch, and helped him in loan warranties and raising capital.

Fan allegedly embezzled 57 million yuan from Double Coin.

The hearing was scheduled to continue today.


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