Mao Yuping, wife of former Shanghai tycoon Zhou Zhengyi, was sentenced to 32 months in prison here Friday by the Hong Kong District Court on charges of conspiracy of defrauding letters of credits worth 49 million HK dollars (6.32 million U.S. dollars).
Mao Yuping, also called Mo Yuk-ping in Hong Kong, is already serving a three-and-a-half jail term for manipulating shares prices of Hong Kong listed firm Shanghai Land Holdings and perverting the course of public justice.
However, 16 months of Mao's newly jail term, will run concurrently with the former court sentence, which means she has to stay in prison for another 16 months after finishing the three and a half years term.
Mao, a 43-year-old director-cum-shareholder of a trading company, was charged by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in January this year for 12 counts of conspiracy to defraud letters of credits worth more than 49 million HK dollars based on bogus business transactions.
She pleaded guilty for defrauding letters of credits on April 24 during court hearing while another 11 similar charges were left on court file.
The court heard that between June 2001 and March 2003, Mao conspired with other persons to defraud five banks by dishonestly causing an enterprise to apply to those banks for a total of 12 Letters of Credits in favor of her company.
The court ruled that defrauding letters of credits will jeopardize the entire credit system in Hong Kong and Mao had played a very important role in the case.
Though the defendant's lawyers presented about 30 letters from show-biz and business celebrities begging for leniency, the court said the plea that Mao is ignorance was unacceptable.
The judge decided to extenuate Mao's crime for her repentance and her repaying all the 49 million HK dollars letters of credits to the banks.
Mao was already sentenced to three and a half year in jail in January this year by the Hong Kong Higher Court.
Mao's husband was Shanghai property tycoon Zhou Zhengyi, known as Chau Ching-ngai in Hong Kong. Zhou was also sentenced to three years in prison in June 2004 by the Shanghai Number One Intermediate People's Court for stock market fraud and falsifying documents.