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Former airline executives on trial for embezzlement


BEIJING - Six former senior executives of an airline based in Shenzhen, in South China's Guangdong province, appeared in a Beijing court on Tuesday to face charges that they embezzled billions of yuan.

Li Zeyuan, former senior consultant, and Zhao Xiang, former chairman of the board of Shenzhen Airlines, were accused of misappropriating 2.03 billion yuan ($322 million) with four other executives within two years.

Li was accused of embezzling the money individually or in collusion with the five to repay debts for several companies, including one that was owned by him, from December 2005 to July 2007.

The airline has failed to recover 750 million yuan of the money that went missing.

Shenzhen Airlines, founded in November 1992, is jointly owned by Air China, which has a 51-percent stake in the company, and the Shenzhen municipal government, which owns the remaining 49 percent.