A Chinese high court allowed the death penalty to stand for an accountant who was involved in defrauding bank customers out of hundreds of millions of dollars, reported the Associated Press. Earlier this week, accountant Liu Yibing, and Zhou Limin, the former head of the China Construction Bank branch in the city of Xi’an, lost their appeal of a case that dates back to 2003.
The pair is accused of collecting up to $61 million from 30 organizations and 400 individuals by offering fake accounts with high interest rates, according to the wire service. Reportedly, the duo kept about half of the stolen funds, but only $900,000 has been recovered by the authorities. An execution date for the pair has not been announced.
Liu and Zhou appealed their death sentence in 2004 to the provincial Shaanxi High Court, which also upheld the sentence. This week’s ruling, from the State Supreme Court, China’s highest court, exhausted the defendants’ appeal attmepts. The AP points out that the incident comes at a time that Chinese banks are trying to raise money from foreign investors to help grow and modernize their businesses.