The trial regarding an online platform that illegally raised funds from the public and whose unpaid principals amounted to 30 billion yuan (4.4 billion U.S. dollars) began in an east Chinese court on Monday.

The Nanjing Municipal Intermediate People’s Court heard the case against Zhang Xiaolei, head of online financial firm Zhang pleaded guilty to the charge of fraudulent fund-raising during the trial. A verdict is to be announced at a later date.

According to the city’s procuratorate, which initiated the prosecution, Zhang had used to illegally raise money from the public since 2011. The funds were used to pay off old debts, pay high salaries to the company’s senior executives or were squandered away by Zhang, causing “extraordinary economic losses.” Previous investigations showed that by promising annual returns of 20 to 40 percent, the platform had amassed over 100 billion yuan. Zhang turned himself in on Dec. 26, 2017.



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