Osman is freed from prison

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The Independent Online
LORRAIN OSMAN, a former Malaysian banker, was released from prison in Hong Kong yesterday after serving eight months of a one-year sentence for conspiracy to defraud.

The former chairman of Bumiputra Malaysia Finance, a subsidiary of Malaysia's state-owned bank, was sentenced in June after losing a seven-year battle against extradition from Britain, where he spent four years in prison on remand.

Osman pleaded guilty to conspiring to make Bank Bumiputra lend USdollars 292m ( pounds 197m) to a firm controlled by George Tan, head of the Carrian Group of companies, even though Mr Tan's firm had paid-up capital of only HKdollars 2 (less than 20p). The Carrian group collapsed in 1983, owing around HKdollars 10bn ( pounds 0.8bn).

Osman fled from Hong Kong, but was arrested at his home in north London in December 1985. He appealed against extradition on the grounds that he feared for his life owing to his close links with powerful figures in Malaysia, but was sent back to Hong Kong last December. His sentence was backdated to the time of his extradition. He is expected to return to Britain.