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People's Daily Online>>China Society

'Beautiful' billionaire goes missing

By Cang Wei (China Daily)

09:06, March 23, 2012

A woman billionaire who owes about 600 million yuan ($95 million) to private moneylenders and banks has gone missing, according to authorities in Changshu, Jiangsu province.

Gu Chunfang, dubbed the "most beautiful businesswoman" by residents, disappeared after borrowing more than 100 million yuan from banks and nearly 500 million yuan from private lenders by promising high returns with a 40 percent annual interest rate, said Xi Jian, deputy director of Changshu Party committee's publicity department.

"More than 30 moneylenders have turned to public authorities for help. A panel consisting of court officials, police and the government's financing department are investigating the case," Xi said.

"Now the most important job is to determine whether this is contract fraud, a criminal case or private fundraising. Only then can creditors be compensated accordingly," Xi said.

Gu's disappearance comes in the wake of a similar case, in which businesswoman Wu Ying was sentenced to death for having illegally raised 770 million yuan. The death sentence is still being reviewed by the Supreme People's Court.

Wu's death sentence sparked an outcry, with opponents arguing that capital punishment was too harsh for someone who used the money to invest instead of personal indulgence.

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