Bank of Tianjin Loses Bills of Exchange

Caixin: Some 780 Mln Yuan in Short-Term Notes 'Missing from Bank of Tianjin'
A city commercial bank has found that more than 780 million yuan worth of bills of exchange stored in its vaults have gone missing, the latest in a string of scandals that shed light on the country's booming bills market which until recently has been little supervised.

The Bank of Tianjin, which went public in Hong Kong on March 30, announced on April 8 that police in Shanghai had opened an investigation into a "risk event” at a branch in Shanghai. Some 786 million yuan worth of bills of exchange were involved, it said.

A person close to the probe said the bills were bought by the bank under a repurchase agreement. A number of bank employees who handled the bills had turned themselves in to police, the source said.

...The scandal resembles one uncovered in January at the Beijing branch of the Agricultural Bank of China. The country's third-largest lender by assets found that it lost nearly 4 billion yuan worth of bills of exchange.

At least two employees of Agricultural Bank have been detained by police on suspicion they sold the bills for cash and used most of the proceeds to buy stocks.

Investigators have found that the bills the Bank of Tianjin lost were sold through a bills agency to Zhejiang Chouzhou Commercial Bank, a city commercial bank in the eastern province of Zhejiang, several people close to the matter said. One said this bank acted as only an intermediary.

The scam surfaced as the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) cracks down on misappropriations and illegal trading involving bills of exchange, a certificate of payments that a bank has promised to make on behalf of a client. It is a short-term financing tool and can be traded among banks and sold for cash.

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