E-commerce boss stole US$158m, then vanished

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A Wenzhou official confirmed that a missing businessman is wanted after accusations he stole more than 1 billion yuan (US$158 million) using an e-commerce website.

E-commerce boss stole US$158m, then vanished.[ File photo ]

E-commerce boss stole US$158m, then vanished.[ File photo ] 

Guo Chuanzhi, who owned an online shopping site that promised to rebate to agents 1 yuan a day for every 500 yuan of goods sold, fled days ago after closing the website.

The Wenzhou police have detained five of Guo's staff suspected of building an illegal pyramid scheme, the 21st Century Business Herald reported yesterday.

Zhou Dewen, head of Wenzhou's small business association, told Shanghai Daily yesterday that the association has lost contact with Guo, who is a previous deputy director of the association, and police have listed him as wanted.

More than 50 victims have flocked to Guo's office since June 1 after they found their account balance empty and their web contact severed, local media reported.

The victims said they paid a lot of money in hopes of high returns. The site charges a commission fee for each transaction but does not ask for proof that goods were sold.

An agent surnamed Ye, who paid more than 60,000 yuan in the past three months, said it appeared profitable as every 575 yuan paid, including commission, could earn 365 yuan a year in return. She said that agents also could earn money by recruiting other agents.

Zhou said the nature of Guo's site was not clearly defined when it was opened. It recently was found to be illegal as regulators tightened oversight of Wenzhou businesses. The city became a pilot for a series of financial reforms to regulate private investment.

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