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Finance officials on trial for fraud

THREE finance officials with Jiangsu Province's Yangzhou City government went on trial on Tuesday charged with embezzling more than 220 million yuan (US$32 million).

Wang Yong, former financial department director of Yangzhou's transport bureau, and his two deputies, Chen Qingchi and Wu Chunqiu, appeared at the Yangzhou City Intermediate People's Court, the Procurator Daily reported yesterday.

Wang Yong's wife Xiao Wei, a local bank clerk, Wang Guangtian, president of Jiangsu Youshi Industrial Co Ltd, and Yang Zhaoliang, director of Danyang Tongda Quarry Plant, also appeared as defendants.

It took prosecutors one and a half hours to read the 24-page indictment involving 45 counts of corruption, according to the report.

The court was told that Wang and Wu embezzled more than 220 million yuan in public money from road construction companies under their administration from November 1997 to February 2008.

Chen is said to have asked Yang Fei, president of the Renyang Group, and Zhou Jian, manager of the group's transport unit, to embezzle 500,000 yuan to fund his investment in a Danyang quarry plant in 2003.

The officials were also charged with making 5.8 million yuan illegally and taking 2.1 million yuan in bribes.

Wang and his wife were arrested on February 21, 2008 after an investigation into a luxury villa the couple had bought in Canada.

The court has not yet announced a verdict.


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