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China arrests HK-owned fund executives for futures manipulation: Xinhua

[BEIJING] China has arrested two executives from a Hong Kong-owned fund which allegedly pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars from irregular futures trades using software that in some cases took only one second to buy 32 contracts, said Xinhua news agency.

The Ministry of Public Security said the case was still under investigation and that its plans to enlist foreign authorities to net overseas suspects, said the official news agency Xinhua, citing a ministry statement on Sunday.

Since China's stocks plunged in mid-June, the country has intensified probes into market manipulation which have so far netted journalists, senior executives in brokerages and even securities regulators.

The general manager of Jiangsu-based Yishidun, Gao Yan, and senior executive Liang Ze, were arrested for allegedly buying and selling futures in prices that deviated from market standards and illegally made more than 2 billion yuan (S$442 million), said the news agency.

Jin Wenxian, a technical supervisor at Chinese Shenzhen-located firm China Fortune Futures, was also arrested for allegedly helping Yishidun cover up trade details, using software without detection by authorities and transfering funds, Xinhua said.

Yishidun and China Fortune Futures could not be immediately reached for comment.

Yishidun, a company jointly invested by two Hong Kong-based firms set up by foreign nationals Georgy Zarya and Anton Murashov, was founded in 2012.

Yishidun allegedly used software to purchase as many as 31 futures contracts in one second, said Xinhua.

From early June to early July, the firm made a net profit of over 500 million yuan, it said. "The company's trade activities deteriorated the fluctuations in daily trade prices.. And affected then market trade prices and normal trade orders," said the statement, according to Xinhua.

In a separate probe, Xu Xiang, general manager of Shanghai-based company Zexi Investment, and others at the firm were under investigation for suspected insider trading, said Xinhua, citing a separate statement from the Ministry of Public Security.

Zexi Investment was not immediately available for comment.