ICBC executives released from custody in Spanish money laundering case

MADRID, April 12 (Reuters) - A Spanish court on Tuesday ordered the release from custody of two Chinese banking executives arrested in February as part of a money laundering probe into China’s biggest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) .

The two Madrid-based ICBC executives, Liu Gang and Liu Wei, were released after the court decided there was no flight risk and dismissed concerns that they might destroy evidence, court documents said. A third ICBC employee will remain in jail.

The ruling on their release does not anticipate the outcome of their case. The two men will have their passports taken away and will have to appear in court at least twice a month.

Neither ICBC nor the executives have issued any comment on the case since it started in February. ICBC was not immediately available to comment on Tuesday.

The bank, which had asked for the release of its staff, had previously said it was cooperating with the authorities and had always strictly implemented money laundering regulations.

Six ICBC staff were arrested in February after police, the Spanish tax agency and Europol launched an investigation into alleged money laundering through the Madrid branch. Three were released after they paid bail of 100,000 euros ($113,770).

The other three have been in jail since the end of February as a precautionary measure allowed under Spanish law while an investigating judges work on the case.

Spanish courts can refuse bail on the grounds that a person could be a flight risk, or if they are concerned that evidence might be destroyed

The Spanish investigation is looking into allegations that funds were transferred by a criminal group via the bank to China. (Reporting by Jesús Aguado; Editing by Sonya Dowsett and Jane Merriman)