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Canadian police hunt accused Chinese swindler

Date: Thursday, January 7, 2010
Author: AFP

Toronto police have issued an arrest warrant for a man of Chinese origin who is accused of swindling millions of dollars from investors in a multi-national pyramid scheme.

Weizhen Tang, 51, who portrayed himself as the "Chinese Warren Buffett," is accused of operating a Ponzi scheme worth at least 29 million US dollars, which snared more than 100 victims, according to Canadian police.

Investors were said to be from Canada, China and the United States, where members of the Chinese-American community were specifically targeted.

Tang ran a hedge fund called Overseas Chinese Fund Limited Partnership, which he previously admitted operated as a Ponzi scheme from 2004 until at least 2006, according to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

He also admitted to raising between 50 million dollars and 75 million dollars from more than 200 investors, the SEC earlier said.

The fund promised returns of one percent per week to clients after an initial investment of around 150,000 dollars.

The Canadian arrest warrant was issued after Wang failed to appear at a scheduled meeting on December 29.

Tang is already accused by US authorities of posting false profits on investors' account statements until February 2009, to hide substantial trading losses.

"Tang further admitted that he used funds from new investors to return principal and payout purported profits to other investors," according to an SEC complaint.

Canadian police said they were unsure whether he was still in the country.