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

China sentences businessman Xiao Jianhua to 13 years in prison, fines his company $8.1 billion
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People walk past the building with the listed address of Tomorrow Holdings’ Beijing office, China, 3 February 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

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BEIJING, August 19 (Reuters) – A Shanghai court on Friday sentenced Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua, who has not been seen since 2017, to 13 years in prison and the Tomorrow Holdings conglomerate fined 55.03 billion yuan ($8.1 billion). Chinese.

The Shanghai First Intermediate Court said Xiao and Tomorrow Holdings were charged with illegally exploiting public deposits, betraying the use of entrusted property, and using illegal funds and bribes.

The court added that the sentence was commuted as both pleaded guilty and cooperated in recovering illegal gains and compensating for losses.

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The Chinese-born Xiao, known for ties to the Chinese Communist Party elite, was last seen being taken in a wheelchair from a luxury Hong Kong hotel in the early morning hours, a source close to the businessman told Reuters at the time.

The court said Xiao and Tomorrow “seriously violated a financial management order” and “injured the financial security of the state”, and that the businessman was also fined 6.5 million yuan for the crimes.

The court said that from 2001 to 2021, Xiao and Tomorrow gave a total of more than 680 million yuan of shares, real estate, cash and other assets to government officials to evade financial audit and seek illegitimate interests.

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

Among the nine firms, four insurance companies – China Tianan Property Insurance Co, Huaxia Life Insurance Co, Tianan Life Insurance Co and Yi’an P&C Insurance Co – and New Times Trust Co and New China Trust Co. The other three were Chengtong Securities, Guosheng Securities, and Guosheng Futures.

The court said that from 2004, Xiao and Tomorrow controlled multiple financial institutions and internet finance platforms, including the failed Baoshang Bank, through multiple layers of indirect shareholders and anonymous ownership.

He said Xiao used the illegal proceeds to purchase financial institutions, trade securities, and invest overseas. But he accepted his attempts to fix it.

“Xiao Jianhua did commendable acts, so he received a light sentence in accordance with the law,” he said.

When asked at a briefing on Friday about Xiao’s right to access the consulate as a Canadian citizen, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Xiao does not have such rights because Chinese law does not recognize dual citizenship.

Canada’s foreign ministry said it was aware of media reports about the sentence and that its officials would monitor the case and press for consular access.

“The lack of transparency in Mr. Xiao’s legal process is very worrying, as is the ongoing lack of consular access, which has prevented us from being able to assess his well-being,” it said in a statement.

Tomorrow Holdings could not be immediately reached for comment.

($1=6.8056 Chinese yuan renminbi)

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reporting by Tony Munroe, Ziyi Tang, Ryan Woo, Ellen Zhang, Eduardo Baptista and Meg Shen; Editing by Stephen Coates and Clarence Fernandez

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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