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Red Cross executive stands trial for fraud

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 July, 2011, 12:00am

A former deputy chairwoman of the Kunming branch of the Red Cross Society of China went on trial in the Yunnan capital city's district court on Friday for embezzling 56,000 yuan (HK$67,480) to go shopping, China News Service reported.

Prosecutors said that between 2006 and 2007, Ruan Heng took advantage of her position and embezzled RCSC money to treat herself to stays at four-star hotels and to buy several thousand yuan in clothes, shoes and underwear, as well as cigarettes and wine.

She also allegedly used the charity's money to rent tennis courts to play tennis with friends.

Ruan pleaded guilty, but said in her defence that the embezzled money was from funds allotted by the authorities for operations, not from public donations or disaster relief aid. She told the court that she embezzled and squandered the money 'so she could do her job better'.

She claimed to have returned the entire sum to the Red Cross after she went under scrutiny on suspicion of graft.

The court did not hand down a verdict on Friday.

As the mainland's biggest charity organisation, the RCSC has been in the spotlight recently. Public outrage exploded last month after a young woman named Guo Meimei claimed to be general manager of the 'Red Cross Chamber of Commerce' on her microblog, while flaunting her luxury cars and designer handbags.

Although it turned out Guo had faked the title and police ruled out any direct link between her and the Red Cross, the charity organisation faced a credibility crisis and was attacked by the public for a lack of transparency in terms of operation and accounting procedures.

4.2m

The extra money, in yuan, the Red Cross spent without approval to procure more models for medical training. It denies any corruption

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