The Bank of China has begun civil proceedings to recover at least part of HK$3.8 billion allegedly embezzled in a 12-year fraud by three of its branch managers and their families. Following a criminal trial that opened in the District Court in October, the mainland-based bank yesterday filed a writ in the High Court naming five people and 15 limited companies whom it said had received funds embezzled in the fraud at its Kaiping branch between 1991 and 2004. Xu Chaofan and Xu Guojun - both former general managers of the Kaiping branch - and their wives were last year indicted in Las Vegas, in the US, on charges of laundering US$485 million stolen from the bank and moving it from the mainland to Hong Kong, Canada and the US between 1991 and 2004. A third Kaiping branch manager, Yu Zhendong , was extradited to the mainland from the US to serve a 12-year term after pleading guilty to the fraud. In yesterday's writ, Xu Chaofan's wife, Kuang Wanfan , his cousin Hui Yat-sing, his cousin's wife Wong Suet-mui and the couple's two Hong Kong-based companies, Ever Joint Properties and Yau Hip Trading, were among those listed as respondents. The five parties were asked to repay HK$3.15 billion. The writ said the respondents were 'dishonest recipients' of the bank's misappropriated funds and asked the court to order them to repay the money, including interest and profits made. Hui and Wong have been on trial in the District Court since October. They have been accused of setting up Ever Joint Properties to launder money swindled on the mainland, which they deny. The prosecution alleges the money was moved to Ever Joint through mainland companies that received loans from the Bank of China and underground banks. Ever Joint then used the money to generate profits in property, shares, index futures and foreign exchange. The trial continues on January 2.