China sentences businessman Xiao Jianhua to 13 years in prison, fines his company $8.1 billion

People walk past the building at the listed address of the Tomorrow Holdings office in Beijing, China, February 3, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

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BEIJING (Reuters) – A court in Shanghai on Friday sentenced Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua, who has not appeared in public since 2017, to 13 years in prison and fined his group Tomorrow Holdings 55.03 billion yuan ($8.1 billion), a record high in China. .

The Shanghai Intermediate Court of First Instance said that Xiao and Tomorrow Holdings were charged with illegal theft of public deposits, treason using trusted property, illegal use of funds and bribery.

She added that the sentence was reduced because both of them confessed to their crimes and cooperated in restoring the illegal gains and compensating the losses.

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A source close to the businessman told Reuters at the time that the Chinese-born Xiao, known for his links to the Chinese Communist Party elite, was last seen in a wheelchair from a luxury hotel in Hong Kong in the early hours with his head covered.

The court said Xiao Guddan “severely violated the financial management order” and “harmed the financial security of the state,” with the business tycoon fined an additional 6.5 million yuan for the crimes.

The court said that from 2001 to 2021, Xiao and Ghoda provided government officials with shares, real estate, money and other assets totaling more than 680 million yuan to evade financial supervision and seek illegal advantages.

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In July 2020, Chinese regulators seized nine of the group’s related institutions as part of a crackdown on risks posed by financial conglomerates. Read more

Of the nine, four were insurance companies — Tianan China Property Insurance, Huaxia Life Insurance, Tianan Life Insurance, and Yian P&C Insurance — as well as New Times Trust and New China Trust. Securities, Guosheng Securities and Guosheng futures contracts.

The court said that since 2004, Xiao and Tomorrow have controlled numerous financial institutions and online financial platforms, including the failed Baoshang Bank, through multiple layers of indirect shareholders and anonymous ownership.

She said Xiao used the illicit gains to acquire financial institutions, trade securities and overseas investments. But she acknowledged his attempts to compensate.

“Xiao Jianhua took commendable measures, so his sentence was reduced in accordance with the law,” the statement read.

Asked about Xiao’s right to consulate as a Canadian citizen at a press conference on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that Xiao is not entitled to rights such as Chinese law does not recognize dual citizenship.

Canada’s Foreign Ministry said it was aware of media reports of the ruling and that its officials would monitor the case and press for access to the consulate.

“The lack of transparency in Mr. Xiao’s legal process is deeply concerning, as is the continued lack of access to the Consulate, which prevents us from being able to assess his safety,” she said in a statement.

Tomorrow Holdings could not immediately be reached for comment.

(dollar = 6.8056 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Tony Munro, Ziyi Tang, Ryan Wu, Elaine Zhang, Eduardo Baptista, and Meg Shen; Editing by Stephen Coates and Clarence Fernandez

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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