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3 Wenzhou officials on trial over house sales

THREE officials are on trial in east China's Zhejiang Province for illegally selling apartments to government officials cheaply, resulting in the province losing more than 10 million yuan (US$1.46 million), China News Service reported today.

Wu Quanshu, former Party secretary of Wenzhou City Old Town Renovation Headquarters and director of Wenzhou United Housing Development Co Ltd, developer of the apartments, allegedly sold 14 apartments well below market value in 2005, the court was told.

Lin Guoquan, the company's manager, allegedly sold 10 such apartments from 2005 to 2006.

Zheng Xiaomeng, the company's operational director, allegedly helped to prepare sale contracts for the 24 apartments despite knowing the prices were lower than market value.

From 2004 to 2005 the city's Old House Renovation Headquarters sold 143 of these apartments without permission, according to earlier media reports.

The apartments, meant to house people resettled after their homes were demolished in reconstruction projects, were sold to government officials for about 8,000 yuan (US$1,170.80) per square meter, 30 percent below the market value. The price has now doubled.


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