School Dropout Convicted of Money Laundering in Hong Kong
A 22-year-old Chinese man who had dropped out of school and worked as a delivery man was convicted of laundering HK$13 billion ($1.68 billion) through a Hong Kong bank over eight months ending in 2010.
A jury of seven yesterday rejected Luo Juncheng’s defense that he had no knowledge of the funds flowing through accounts set up in his name. Luo faces a sentence of as long as 14 years, which Judge Esther Toh said would be decided today following further arguments.
Prosecutors accused Luo, a middle school dropout from south China’s Guangdong Province near Hong Kong, of laundering around HK$50 million a day through a corporate account set up with Chiyu Banking Corp., a subsidiary of Bank of China Ltd.’s Hong Kong unit. A bank spokesman said by e-mail that it complied with all relevant laws and has vigorous systems to control and mitigate money-laundering risks.
Luo told the court he was acting on behalf of a family friend, called Uncle Pang, who asked him to open the bank accounts and set up a company in Hong Kong called Ace Creation Development Ltd.
Luo said he was one of four brothers and worked as a delivery man for factories in the industrial export hub of Shenzhen until he quit to care for his ailing mother. His mother had introduced him to Uncle Pang, who had helped pay for his father’s medical bills before he died in 2002.
Uncle Pang approached Luo to go to Hong Kong to set up the company and accounts after Luo’s mother died in 2010, Luo testified.
The case is Hong Kong Special Administrative Region v. Luo Juncheng, HCCC159/2012 in the Hong Kong Court of First Instance.
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