Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Financier killed himself

NEWPORT BEACH (California) - INVESTIGATORS believe Danny Pang, the international financier who died in Southern California last weekend while facing charges of fraud, committed suicide, a police spokesman said Friday.

Pang was indicted in July on charges of illegally structuring financial transactions to evade currency-reporting requirements, just months after the Securities and Exchange Commission seized his assets and those of his two investment companies.

Pang, a Taiwanese immigrant, died Saturday at a hospital, a day after police and paramedics were called to his gated-community home.

'It is our opinion that the death appears to be suicide,' said Newport Beach Police Sergeant Evan Sailor.

However, Pang's death won't officially be ruled a suicide until the coroner's investigation is finished, Sgt Sailor said.

The Orange County coroner ruled out foul play, but deferred a cause of death until toxicology reports are complete, a process that could take months.

Mr David Schindler, a lawyer who represented Pang, said Thursday that any speculation that his late client's death was a suicide is 'offensive'. The Los Angeles attorney told The Wall Street Journal that Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, where Pang died, told his family that he had a heart attack.

The SEC alleged Pang and his companies raised hundreds of millions of dollars from mostly Taiwanese investors through fraudulent securities.

The court-appointed receiver said Pang, 42, used investor funds as a 'personal piggy bank' to fund US$35 million (S$49.5 million) on a fleet of jets, US$1 million on a cruise for employees and US$1.5 million on a China vacation for his staff. -- AP

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