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 China: Highway 'king' on trial

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PostSubject: China: Highway 'king' on trial   Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:35 pm

China: Highway 'king' on trial

SHANGHAI - A SHANGHAI tycoon who made his fortune building highways went on trial in eastern China for allegedly embezzling 340 million yuan (S$76.14 million), state media reported on Thursday.

Liu Genshan, former chairman of Shanghai Maosheng International Group, was accused of stealing 150 million yuan from a company set up to finance a highway project between 2002 and 2004, the China Daily reported, citing a local court.

Liu, arrested in July, stood trial at a local court in Hangzhou city in eastern China's Zhejiang province on Wednesday, but the court has yet to announce its verdict, according to the report.

Nicknamed 'King of the Road,' Liu was ranked one of China's 15 wealthiest men by Forbes magazine in 2003. He is one of a long line of influential Shanghai people to be tarnished by a graft scandal that rocked the city in 2006.

Liu was reportedly a close friend of Chen Liangyu, Shanghai's former Communist Party chief, who was jailed for 18 years last year for abuse of power and accepting bribes in relation to the 2006 pension scandal.

More than 20 officials and businessmen have since been convicted in connection with the scandal.

Liu allegedly siphoned the money out of Yongjin Highway in a series of transactions.

The firm built the 185-kilometre (115-mile) highway linking Ningbo and the cities of Shaoxing and Jinhua in eastern China, which opened in 2005.

Cai Jidong and Zhang Laixing, two former government officials with the traffic department of Shaoxing city, were said to have helped Liu acquire a stake in Yongjin Highway.

Prosecutors also charged 52-year-old Liu with embezzling 190 million yuan in Shanghai Huqingping Highway Development Co, which was controlled by Maosheng, Caijing magazine said in a report on its website. -- AFP

Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Asia/Story/STIStory_343316.html
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