Australian businessman faces trial in China

Posted by Fraser Trevor Friday, 6 May 2011

THE Australian entrepreneur Matthew Ng is likely to be put on trial in China within weeks, just 10 days after the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, directly raised concerns about the case with China's Premier, Wen Jiabao.

Close supporters of Mr Ng were shattered by the news, after previously hearing that prosecutors had refused to accept the police file against him because of a lack of evidence.

Mr Ng was detained on November 16 after tense commercial negotiations with his Chinese joint venture partner. He was later charged with embezzlement relating to 100,000 yuan ($15,000) of company expenses.

Details of the prosecution case against Mr Ng remained hazy yesterday as none of Mr Ng's wife, his lawyer or the Australian government said they had received formal notification. "We have not confirmed the charges yet because we have not received any information or letter," a confidante of Mr Ng said.

Mr Ng's supporters expect a trial date will be announced and charges detailed next week.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, said she could not comment because there had been no ''public announcement''.

Chinese lawyers yesterday said criminal cases that reached this stage rarely ended without a substantial jail term.

Mr Ng, 44, founded and ran a company called Et-china, which is backed by powerful Australian and international interests, including James Packer's investment fund, Ellerston Capital.

He was a director of the local Australia-China business chamber and had won accolades for building Et-china into one of China's largest privately invested travel companies and listing it on the London stock exchange, with a value close to $100 million.

But Mr Ng had been feuding about control of his company's profitable subsidiary, Guangzhou GZL International Travel Services, with a state-owned conglomerate, Guangzhou Lingnan International Enterprise Group.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...