Bank of China is investigating reports that it has been defrauded of US$53.7 million through a branch in Heilongjiang province in the country’s northeast, the Financial Times reported. Caijing, a leading financial magazine, reported in its latest issue that a businessman allegedly obtained 96 acceptance bills ï¿½ a form of bill of exchange ï¿½ from the branch and then cashed them in at other institutions. Five BoC executives and an executive of a cereals trading house were arrested after the alleged scam was uncovered. The timing is embarrassing for BoC, which hopes to raise as much as US$10 billion from an initial public offering in Hong Kong, planned for the first half of this year. BoC declined to comment to the Financial Times on the details of the case but said it was investigating the Caijing report.