Friday, March 26, 2010

International Embezzlement Beat

Some of the prominent embezzlement cases in the news from around the globe recently include:

People's Republic of China

Li Shubiao, 46, and the former director of the Chenzhou Housing Provident Fund Centre, was executed yesterday by Chinese authorities. He was reportedly found guilty of having embezzled some 120 million yuan (US$18 million) in public funds over a five year period during his tenure. He is reported to have invested most of the money in personal investments or "squandered" it gambling.


Jacques Chirac, 77, and the former president of France, has been ordered to stand trial for embezzlement. Chirac was forced to step down in 2007 resulting from accusations he created fictitious jobs to pay his political cronies during his time as Paris mayor between 1992 and 1995. This case is noteworthy in that it marks the first time a modern French leader has appeared in the dock in a public court. The investigation took 3 years to complete and Chirac has avoided prosecution due to his immunity in public office until he stepped down.


An investigation lead by the Office of the Prosecutor General has resulted the arrest of a number of leaders and members of various cooperatives in the country for alleged embezzlement of at least Rwf 889m. Those arrested include, Jeanne Mukandamage, Claude Nzaramba, Odeth Mukamana (Codevram), Anastase Murego, Andre Nzabamwita, and Boniface Uwimana.

Republic of Korea

Official crime reports indicate that embezzlement cases are on the rise in South Korea. According to the National Police Agency, the number of embezzlement cases reported was 23,830 last year, up 17 percent over the past five years. An article in the Korea Herald reported that many of the perpetrators involve "financial experts" and "other professionals. The article cited three recent cases, including the following:
  • Last October, the 49-year-old manager of a company under court receivership was arrested on charges of embezzling 190 billion won (US$160 million) from his company. The man, named Park, allegedly squandered all the money that he stole for six years on stock investments, plus gambling and "other extravagancies."

  • On March 19, an official at Gangnam District Office in southern Seoul committed suicide after being found to have appropriated 770 million won (US$650,000) in state funds.

  • Officials at Yonsei University in Seoul reported Wednesday that they were investigating a campus employee suspected of embezzling research fees worth of "tens of millions of won."

Mukhtar Dzhakishev, a former president of state-run nuclear energy company Kazatomprom, was recently convicted of embezzling some 99.8 million tenge (US$679,000) by misappropriating state shares in uranium deposits to offshore accounts. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison and barred for 7 years from holding government posts.


Alfonso Portillo, 58, the former president of Guatemala, will faces money laundering and embezzlement charges in the United States after a panel of judges approved his extradition to the U.S. on charges that he laundered tens of millions of dollars that he had embezzled while he was President, between 2000 and 2004, including $2.5 million in donations from the Taiwanese government that was meant for children's schoolbooks. He was apprehended in January after a US indictment was handed down. Portillo claims he is innocent and suggested that the accusations are a political witch hunt by the U.S. and U.N. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.


Sentencing for Hsieh Shih-hung, a bank intern formerly employed by the Bank of Taiwan, who embezzled NT$320 million is recommended by prosecutors to be 15 years in prison. Hsieh reportedly used his manager's identity and the banks newly installed electronic data interchange service to make two transfers of NT$160 each to his own personal bank account. Hsieh, who also conspired with his wife and an aunt to transfer some of the funds to overseas accounts, was originally charged with violating the Banking Act and laundering


Jaume Matas, the former president of the Balearic Islands, has been accused of embezzlement, false documentation, breach of trust, fraud management and money laundering in connection with the misappropriation of some 41 million euros while he was in government. He faces a maximum of 18 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

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