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Yang Bin set to take on taxing task

North Korea is planning to set up a special administrative region and create a financial and commercial centre to rival all others in Asia. The North Korean authorities say the area will be autonomous, with its own legislative, judicial and executive powers.

The state has named the man who will be in charge. It's Yang Bin, CEO and chairman of Euro-Asia Agriculture Holdings.

Yang was China's second-richest man until the bottom fell out of Euro-Asia's share price following allegations of improper corporate behaviour. And in September, the company, which has shed 77% of its value this year, was suspended from the stock exchange twice because of what the Hong Kong Securities&Futures Commission calls a failure to release price-sensitive information. What this actually means is that Yang is accused of misusing company money and not disclosing share sales.

In addition, Yang is under investigation by the Chinese authorities for failing to pay tax. He rebuts this charge and is apparently looking forward to exercising his own tax-collecting powers. How he intends to punish tax dodgers remains unclear.

Because of the poor state of North Korea's finances, the project will rely heavily on international investors, Yang says.

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