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Spanish court sends Chinese businessman, art dealer and fraud suspect Gao Ping back to jail
This file picture dated December 7, 2012 shows Chinese businessman and art gallery owner Gao Ping (L), suspected of leading a massive money-laundering gang in Spain, leaving a court in Madrid. Gao Ping should go back to jail following a Spanish judge order issued on April 16, 2013. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET.
MADRID (AFP).- A Spanish court ordered the return to prison on Tuesday of a Chinese art dealer suspected of leading a massive money-laundering gang in Spain pending his possible trial, judging him a flight risk.

Gao Ping was arrested in October 2012 along with dozens of mostly Chinese suspects as part of a police investigation dubbed "Operation Emperor" but a court ordered him bailed the following month due to procedural irregularities relating to his detention.

Spain's High Court, the country's top criminal court, ordered his return to jail on Tuesday because of the "sufficiently intense temptation" to flee the country and because of the serious nature of the crimes he is alleged to have committed.

Spanish prosecutors suspect Gao of leading a gang that laundered up to 300,000 euros ($392,000) a year, dodged taxes, bribed officials and forged documents.

Gao, reportedly from Zhejiang 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

Police seized 10 million euros in cash as part of their operation as well as 200 cars, several guns, jewels and art works.

© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

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