Former Xinhua Finance Chief Loretta Fredy Bush Pleads Not Guilty to Fraud

The former chief executive officer of Xinhua Finance Ltd. (9399), accused of taking part in a $50 million insider-trading scheme, said she is not guilty of defrauding investors and lying to regulators.

Loretta Fredy Bush, who headed Xinhua Finance for almost a decade, pleaded not guilty today in federal court in Washington to charges of conspiracy, mail fraud and making false statements. Bush entered her plea by telephone from her residence in Hawaii because of illness, her lawyer said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth B. Waxman said Bush must present herself to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Honolulu for booking. U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said Bush will remain free pending trial.

Lamberth has ordered that details of Bush’s illness remain private.

Two former Xinhua Finance board members indicted with Bush, Shelly Singhal and Dennis Pelino, pleaded not guilty last month.

Xinhua Finance, the first Chinese company listed on the Tokyo stock exchange, provides information products focused on Chinese and international financial markets.

The three are accused of using entities to disguise the sale of shares in Shanghai-based Xinhua Finance from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and investors and engage in insider trading, according to an indictment. They are also accused of manipulating the company’s balance sheet to avoid impairment charges.

False Statements Count

Bush and Singhal face nine charges. Pelino, who was charged with an additional false statements count, faces 10. Each mail fraud count is punishable by a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Bush, 52, co-founded Xinhua Finance with Pelino in 1999. She was the company’s chief executive and vice chairman of its board of directors until January 2009, according to the indictment.

Pelino, 63, was chairman of the compensation committee and a member of the audit and investment committees, according to the indictment, and Singhal, 43, was chairman of Xinhua Finance’s audit committee and a member of its compensation and investment committees.

This is the second criminal case against Singhal. He was indicted last year in Washington and is accused of a running a $10 million stock manipulation conspiracy. Three lawyers have pleaded guilty in that case and agreed to cooperate.

The case is U.S. v. Singhal, 11-cr-00142, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Schoenberg in Washington at tschoenberg@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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