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98-year-old Chinese man faces trial

world Updated: Feb 05, 2009 15:37 IST
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A 98-year-old Chinese man, charged for swindling $109,508, has become the oldest defendant ever to appear before a criminal court here in the country.

Beijing criminal court yesterday charged Zhou Zhiping with scam for allegedly cheating a 74-year-old American-Chinese academician surnamed Chen.

Zhou asked Chen to finance him in unfreezing a large amount of "national funds," the state media reported.

Victim was introduced to Zhou by two other persons, Xiao Wanni (50) and Wang Shengkun (58), who convinced Chen that Zhou used to be a high-ranking official of Kuomintang.

Zhou, posing as a former government official told Chen that he had connections with state leaders and was unfreezing a large amount of "national funds", valued at 1,300 trillion yuan, that Kuomintang officials deposited in US banks, Xinhua news agency reported.

He promised to give the victim 20 million yuan (three million dollars) if he helped the finance.

Chen gave the trio a total of 749,000 yuan (USD 109,508) before realising he had been conned.

During the hearing Chou denied the alleged fraud.

"That's nonsense!" Chou said adding that he won't be jailed.

Zhou could face 10 years in imprisonment if found guilty.