Did China's Central Bank Official Print $314 Billion Worth of Notes in Massive Forgery? People's Bank Denies Report

Chen Yaoming, who was one of the people in charge of minting China's cash, was detained recently on suspicion of unspecified "serious crimes."

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A senior official working at China's central bank has reportedly been detained on charges of forging $314 billion worth of banknotes. However, the bank has denied the report calling it a rumor. Chen Yaoming, who was one of the people in charge of minting China's cash, was detained recently on suspicion of unspecified "serious crimes."

Yaoming was detained on grounds of suspicion that he was printing new notes with same serial numbers and then taking them away, which has made him a billionaire within a short time. In fact, his detention became one of the most trending topics on China social media platform Weibo on Wednesday.

Raising Suspicion

People's Bank Of China Reuters

Yaoming, who is in charge of printing currency notes in China's main mint, was detained recently. This made many speculate that he was detained because he had printed 2 trillion yuan ($314 billion) worth of such notes is false by using the same numbers used in earlier notes.

However, the People's Bank of China on Wednesday straight away denied the reports calling it "false" and has also reported the incident to police, according to a statement from the bank.

The printing of renminbi notes follows a strict process and has always been carried out in accordance with laws and regulations, the PBOC said in a statement. However, there was no timeline of his detention and interrogation.

Moreover, despite the People's Bank of China debunking the claims, it hasn't given any explanation of why Yaoming was detained, neither in the central bank's statement nor in the notice from the anti-corruption watchdog earlier this month.

The news first came to light after the country's anti-corruption watchdog said that Yaoming had surrendered himself and was under investigation.

What's the Truth?

China flag

It is not understood why China's central bank is not giving out a clear answer, which has further made people suspicious. Also, it is not known if Yaoming has been released or if he is still in custody. Moreover, if Yaoming has really forged billions of dollars, why is the People Bank of China trying to dismiss it as rumor.

China has extremely strict laws against crimes like cheating, bribery, forgery and misappropriation of accounts. In that case, if Yaoming is really found guilty he might end up serving the rest of his life in jail or might even be executed. However, nothing more is known about the case.

Forging 2 trillion yuan in banknotes is a mammoth task and it is quite impossible Yaoming did it single handedly. The largest note in China is 100 yuan, so 2 trillion yuan would be 20 billion notes, and would be worth about 2 percent of China's 2020's gross domestic product.

This article was first published on December 22, 2021