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Chinese property tycoon Zhou Zhengyi faces new charges
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10:17, August 18, 2007

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The Shanghai Municipal People's Procuratorate has charged property tycoon Zhou Zhengyi with misappropriation of funds, bribery and forging VAT receipts, a procuratorate source said on Friday.

Zhou, former president of Shanghai-based property firm Nongkai Development Group, was released from prison in May 2006 after completing a three-year sentence for fraud and manipulating the stock market.

But five months later, in October, Zhou was detained as prosecutors investigated the Shanghai social security fund scandal.

Shanghai courts began to hear cases of officials involved in the Shanghai social security fund scandal in June.

The second division of Shanghai Municipal People's Procuratorate charged Zhou at the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court, the procuratorate source said.

However, the source did not give further details on the charges.

Zhou, 45, also known as Chau Ching-ngai, started business as a teenager in a wonton noodle shop. In 2002, Forbes estimated Zhou's wealth at about 320 million U.S. dollars.

Earlier this month, four prison officials in Shanghai were jailed for taking bribes and providing preferential treatment to Zhou during his incarceration.

Shanghai's social security fund scandal was exposed to the public last year, with 3.7 billion yuan involved.

Investigators found the money had been illegally loaned, by a company of the municipal labor and social security bureau, to Shanghai Feidian Investment Development Co. Ltd, a company controlled by business tycoon Zhang Rongkun, number 16 on the Forbes China Rich List in 2005.

Zhang was the first person arrested in the Shanghai social security fund scandal, which also brought down a number of high-ranking officials including former Shanghai Party chief Chen Liangyu.

Source: Xinhua

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