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Billion-dollar foreign exchange racket revealed

JIANGSU Province police have uncovered an illegal foreign exchange racket worth 8.5 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion).

The scheme involved 363 bank accounts in 22 provinces and regions in China, police in Yangzhou city of the eastern China province said at a press conference on Tuesday, the Nanjing-based Modern Express reported today.

The key player Qian Zicheng, a Fujian Province native, and an employee Xiao Yun have been arrested.

The racket was discovered after staff at the People's Bank of China in Yangzhou became suspicious about Qian's personal bank account - he did not run a business officially but millions of yuan were being moved through his account. Later the anti-corruption bureau of Yangzhou found that more than 2 million yuan of public funds had been moved overseas last May via Qian's account.

Premier Wen asked for a thorough investigation.

Police inquiries revealed found that Qian's brothers and sisters were overseas and Qian's bank account averaged more than 100 transactions from all over the country every day. He had opened accounts with several banks in Shanghai but he had not registered a company in China.

Policemen from Yangzhou arrested Qian at Shenzhen on October 6, 2008 when he was about to leave the country. In his laptop police found details of his transactions and work summaries.

On November 22 at a four-story villa in Fujian Province police arrested Xiao Yun, who earned 5,000 yuan a month helping Qian handle small bank accounts.

Qian had learned about foreign exchange transactions from his brother in the Great Britain after junior high school. He registered remittance companies in Canada, the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong.

Police said the racket had made more than 10 million yuan in profit.


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