• Yan Yongming

Yan Yongming (Photo : Getty Images)

The former chairman of Tonghua Golden-horse Group, who is wanted in China, lost almost $300 million gambling in New Zealand’s Skycity. Yan Yongming is wanted in China on suspicion that he misappropriated money in 2002.

After Yan, who also uses the names Yong Ming Yan, Yang Liu and Bill Liu, resigned from Tonghua in October 2001 when it lost $90 million (584 million yuan) he then escaped to Australia and New Zealand, reported Global Times.

Like Us on Facebook

He defended the use of the names Yong Ming Yan and Yang Liu as legal because these are names given to him by two families in China who adopted him when he was a boy and registered with the government using the different names and dates of birth.

While Australian police returned to China in November 2007 more than $2.83 million of Yan’s money because it was stolen, New Zealand said despite the fugitive – number 5 on Beijing’s list of most-wanted economic criminals – being the subject of a money laundering probe, the $300 million he gambled is not considered laundered funds but part of his wealth.

After all, between 2001 and 2013, Yan bet and won $563 million that he is considered a “gambler of significance” in Skycity, according to Wellington’s Department of Internal Affairs. Yan was actually banned for two years from playing in Skycity’s casino. But despite the Interpol alert, New Zealand even granted Yan citizenship. In 2013, he was acquitted of citizenship fraud charges.

Of the $300 million he lost, $5 million was gone in 82 minutes because of a losing streak, reported NZherald. Yan denied he stole any money, and no criminal charges have been filed against him. But Beijing is accusing him of being pro-democracy and a member of the Falun Gong.

But New Zealand police also raided in August 2014 his penthouse in Metropolis apartment, worth $2.5 million, and confiscated assets worth $40 million.