Spain court releases Chinese fraud suspect
A Madrid judge on Thursday ordered a Chinese art dealer suspected of leading a massive money-laundering gang in Spain to be released from custody pending his possible trial, a court said.
Gao Ping, 45, who has been held since October 16 along with dozens of others arrested in a massive probe, is to be bailed due to procedural irregularities relating to his detention, the court said in a written ruling.
After his arrest, Gao waited days to go before a judge who was working through a list of more than 80 suspects.
Among the mostly Chinese suspects arrested in the October raids, dubbed Operation Emperor by police, 11 others were also ordered to be released, a court source said.
They and Gao will have to surrender their passports and check in daily with the court.
Spanish prosecutors said the gang was suspected of laundering up to 300,000 euros ($388,000) a year, dodging taxes, bribing officials and forging documents.
Gao, reportedly from Zheijiang in northeastern China, owns art galleries in Madrid and Beijing plus businesses in Cobo Calleja, a huge Chinese trading estate in southern Madrid.
Judges are due to decide at an unspecified date whether he will go on trial.
© 2012 AFP