SINGAPORE: A Chinese official wanted by Interpol after embezzling S$18million in Chinese government funds is on trial in Singapore.
Li Huabo, who is a permanent resident here, faced three counts of dishonestly. He received more than S$180,000 worth of stolen funds between December 2010 and January 2011.
The 50—year—old section director at Poyang County Finance Bureau in Jiangxi Province fled China early last year and was arrested in Singapore shortly after.
During the first day of the trial, a man who helped Li with his PR application process was one of the witnesses called to the stand by the prosecution.
The court heard that Li, who was in charge of a four—man team, was responsible for finance matters for water works development projects in China.
He was also tasked with approving the release of funds from six company bank accounts.
Li, who earned about 3000 yuan (S$583) each month, started his move to Singapore in March 2010.
He approached Edwin Shieh, the director of ADH Group Co Ltd. to facilitate the immigration process.
Shieh prepared Li’s application papers for his Singapore Permanent Residence status.
Li quit his job in China and moved to Singapore with his family two months after his PR status was granted.
It was revealed during the trial that Li did not mention during the application process that he was a Chinese government official.
During his cross—examination by the prosecution, Shieh said he was unaware of Li’s position.
He added that Li being a Chinese government official, was not permitted to apply for foreign PR.
In response, Mr Subhas Anandan who is representing Li said that the information was "sensitive".
The court also heard that Li later met a Loo Sze Wee, who headed the UOB Privilege Banking team for China and Indonesia.
With Loo’s help, Li opened various UOB bank accounts in Singapore to receive monies transferred from China.
Li also transferred sums between S$3,774 and S$73,938 into the bank accounts of Chinese nationals, Bai Lu and Chen Meiying.
A police report was filed against Li after Interpol’s Beijing office sent a notice to Singapore in February 2011.
Li was contacted by the police, and his temporary residence at Far East Plaza was later raided.
The Commercial Affairs Department has frozen about S$1.8 million of Li’s assets here.
Li was released on a S$80,000 bail on March 4, 2011.
His passport has since been surrendered.
The trial is expected to continue over the next few days and eight witnesses are expected to be called by the prosecution.
If Li is convicted, he could be jailed up to five years and fined on each charge.
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