<HTML><HEAD> <META name=GENERATOR content="MSHTML 8.00.6001.19019"></HEAD> <BODY> <H1 class="cN-headingPage articleHeading prepend-5 span-11 last">Australian accountant awaits her fate after trial for embezzlement </H1> <DIV class="push-0 span-11 last"><!-- cT-storyDetails --> <DIV class="cT-storyDetails cfix"> <H5>John Garnaut, Sanghee Liu, Zhang Yufei </H5><CITE>September 15, 2011</CITE> <!--<ul> --><!-- --></DIV> <DIV id=googleAds class="ad adSpot-textBox"></DIV><BOD> <DIV class=articleBody><!-- cT-imagePortrait --> <DIV class=cT-imagePortrait><IMG alt="Charlotte Chou awaits judgement after being tried for embezzlement." src="ctsaaaa-char-200x0.jpg"> <P>Charlotte Chou awaits judgement after being tried for embezzlement. <EM>Photo: Sanghee Liu</EM></P></DIV> <P>The Australian accountant Charlotte Chou has produced a chain of documents that she said showed the police case against her was ''malicious'' and had been ''fabricated'', in the second and final day of her trial yesterday.</P> <P>Ms Chou and another Australian, Matthew Ng, who was tried last month in the same court on similar charges, maintained their innocence to the end.</P> <P>Both now face a potentially lengthy wait for judgment, with the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court having up to nine and a half months to decide whether Ms Chou is guilty of embezzling 70 million yuan ($10.7 million) from the private university she helped establish.</P> <P>Both cases are also seen as test cases of how the judicial system will respond to vigorous, aggressive and media-savvy performances from the well-regarded defence lawyer, Chen Youxi, in a culture where defendants typically choose to keep a low profile.</P> <P>Mr Chen strongly hinted at allegations of police and judicial bribery as he described how Ms Chou was in court and her business partner, Lin Yongping, was in hiding while a third partner took control of their university, the South China Institute of Software Engineering.</P> <P>''Now one is in detention and the other in exile, while the minority shareholder and non-founder of the company, Zhu Hanbang, controls the [university] and manages hundreds of millions of capital,'' Mr Chen said.</P> <P>''The signs of interference in this case are too obvious, principles of fairness and justice have been violated,'' he said.</P> <P>''We plead for the court to stick to a bottom line of justice - in spite of any interference - and decide on the innocence of Charlotte Chou and thereby protect the sincerity of law and the image of China.''</P> <P>Ms Chou cried towards the end of the case as she again described how the money she was accused of embezzling was the repayment of an earlier loan, for which she had produced bank records and other documents.</P> <P>''I spared no effort in performing my duty at South China Institute of Software Engineering,'' she said. ''Without it, there would be no school today.''</P></DIV></BOD></DIV></BODY></HTML>