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December 16, 2009

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Executives jailed for welfare fund thefts

THREE former executives of China's once biggest beverage maker, Jianlibao Group, have been jailed for stealing from the staff welfare fund, a court official in south China's Guangdong Province said yesterday.

A spokesman for the Intermediate People's Court of Foshan City said Yang Shiming received an 18-year sentence and Li Qingyuan and Ruan Juyuan were each sentenced to 14 years. They were also fined 150,000 yuan (US$20,000) each.

All three - former vice presidents of the group - have filed appeals.

The spokesman said the court had suspended the hearing of Li Jingwei, the former group chairman, who was supposed to be tried with the three sentenced, because the 70-year-old was "gravely ill" in hospital.

They were charged with embezzling 11 million yuan from the employee welfare fund to buy insurance for themselves and Li and another former vice president Yu Shanfu in June 2000.

Li's life insurance alone cost 3.3 million yuan.

The court also heard Yang took bribes worth 100,000 yuan in 1997, when he was in charge of renovation of the company's office building. He was convicted of embezzling 130,000 yuan of the corporate fund in 2001, when the former state-owned company was transferred to a shareholding company.

Xu Yufa, one of the lawyers in the case, said the local procuratorate initiated the prosecution in 2002. But Li and the three vice presidents were on bail until July this year.

Another executive of the company, Zhang Hai, who succeeded Li as chairman of Jianlibao in 2002, was sentenced last year to 10 years. He had embezzled 120.7 million yuan of the company's funds, and misappropriated 86.44 million yuan.


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