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China upholds death for man who took $8.8 million

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[April 22, 2009]  BEIJING (AP) -- A Beijing court upheld the death sentence of a former securities firm manager found guilty of embezzling 60 million yuan ($8.8 million), his defense lawyer and state media said Wednesday.

Yang Yanmin was convicted of stealing the identities of his staff at China Galaxy Securities Company to borrow money and open stock accounts, state media said.

"He was sentenced to death yesterday and now the decision only awaits approval from the Supreme Court," defense lawyer Qian Lieyang said after the retrial at the Beijing Higher Court on Tuesday.

Yang admitted in court in late March during an earlier session of his retrial that some of the money had been used for bribes, but he did not give details, Qian said.

The Beijing Morning Post said Yang was the first member of China's securities industry to be sentenced to death for embezzlement.

Yang's case had dragged on for five years and he had remained quiet when asked about the missing money or said he couldn't remember clearly, the newspaper said. It quoted Yang as saying in court in late March that he gave the money to officials and individuals.

A woman who answered the phone Wednesday at the court said she did not have any information on the case.

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China has vowed to fight corruption, which is routinely cited as a threat to the regime and a potential flash point for unrest.

President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao say they aim to create a "harmonious society," and the country's legislature amended the criminal law this year so that all beneficiaries of corruption are now liable for punishment, not just officials.

China's Supreme Court by law must review every death sentence passed by the country's lower courts.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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