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Court dismisses appeal of former Chinese official who received stolen funds

Li Huabo was accused of embezzling about 94 million yuan (S$18.8 million) and arranging for these monies to be transferred to him in Singapore.

SINGAPORE: A former Chinese government official residing in Singapore had his appeal against his conviction – for dishonestly receiving stolen funds from the Chinese government – dismissed on Thursday (July 10) and will have to serve his 15-month jail term.

A restraining order was also made on Li Huabo’s assets comprising cash and real estate. The 52-year-old, a permanent resident here, is also not allowed to handle the money in the seized accounts where the stolen funds are said to be placed. The Attorney-General’s Chambers said the order was served on July 4 and had come from China.

Li was accused of embezzling about 94 million yuan (S$18.8 million) and arranging for these monies to be transferred to him in Singapore, through various intermediaries, into a local bank account.

One of Li’s statements to the Commercial Affairs Department in 2011 when he was caught showed he had been embezzling the funds from the Poyang County Finance Bureau in Jiangxi province in China, where he served as a section director, since December 2006.

Li later denied this and insisted that the monies in the bank account were from legitimate sources, but was unable to provide evidence to prove his claim. He also claimed that he had been framed by his co-workers.

He was found guilty of all three charges of receiving the stolen funds and sentenced to 15 months’ jail in April last year.

In April this year, Li filed a criminal motion seeking to admit further evidence. At the same time, the prosecution also sought to admit six statements from various parties and a clarification from the Poyang County People’s Procuratorate. Both applications were dismissed by Justice Choo Han Teck.

In his grounds of decision, Justice Choo said he did not find any injustice in convicting and sentencing Li because he satisfied the elements of the offence he was charged under – that he must have dishonestly received or retained the property, that he had knowledge or reason to believe the property was stolen and that it must be stolen property.

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