Former Chinese official gets 15 months jail for receiving stolen funds

A Chinese official, who was accused of embezzling 94 million yuan (S$18 million) in China, was sentenced to 15 months in jail here for receiving stolen funds.

Li Huabo, 51, was found guilty on Tuesday of receiving more than $180,000 worth of stolen funds here by District Judge Siva Shanmugam. Delivering his verdict, the judge said that the prosecution had proven its case against Li beyond a reasonable doubt, adding that his offences had been pre-meditated.

The former finance bureau officer from Jiangxi's Poyang County had testified during the trial that he was framed by his former co-workers. He is wanted by the Chinese police for allegedly siphoning off 94 million yuan in government funds.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Luke Tan had said that the money Li received in his bank account here was part of the loot. Asking for a jail term of up to 18 months, the DPP said that Li's act had "blackened" Singapore's reputation as a financial hub.

But defence lawyer Subhas Anandan argued that a long sentence was execessive since Li had not been charged with money laundering.

Li, who has permanent residency here, has indicated that he will be appealing his conviction.