China's AgBank may lose $578 mln through suspected bill fraud

China's AgBank may lose $578 mln through suspected bill fraud

SHANGHAI, Jan 22 (Reuters) - The Agricultural Bank of China Ltd (AgBank) may lose 3.8 billion yuan ($578 million) from a bills of exchange scam allegedly carried out by two employees, the influential financial publication Caixin reported.

The report, quoting unnamed sources, said the employees had illegally sold the bills of exchange to an unnamed third-party, and then used the proceeds to invest in the stock market, which has slumped since the middle of last year.

The report said the employees, who worked at a Beijing branch, were now under investigation, but did not specify by whom. It said the Ministry of Public Security and the China Banking Regulatory Commission had also reported the case to the cabinet.

Officials at Agbank, China's third largest lender, did not respond to repeated attempts for comment.

China's banks have been dogged by accusations of corruption, with a recent crackdown on the financial industry netting senior executives for bribery, including the former vice president of AgBank who was sentenced to life imprisonment last year for accepting bribes. (Reporting by Engen Tham and Shu Zhang; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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