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China Sentences Tycoon Xiao Jianhua to 13 Years, His holding fined $8.1 bn

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China Sentences Tycoon Xiao Jianhua to 13 Years, His holding fined $8.1 bn

A Shanghai court on Friday sentenced Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua, not seen in public since 2017, to 13 years in jail and fined his group, Tomorrow Holdings $8.1 billion.

Both had admitted their crimes and cooperated in recovering illegal gains and in restoring losses. the Shanghai First Intermediate Court said, adding that they were charged with illegally siphoning away public deposits, betraying the use of entrusted property, and the illegal use of funds and bribery.

China-born Xiao and Tomorrow have “severely violated a financial management order” and “hurt state financial security,” the court said, with the tycoon additionally fined 6.5 million yuan for the crimes.

He is unlikely to get consular access as a Canadian citizen.  “Chinese law does not recognize dual nationality. As such, Xiao is not entitled to such rights,”  Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at his briefing.

Xiao is said to have had links to China’s Communist Party elite.

From 2001-21, Xiao and his group gave shares, real estate, cash and other assets to government officials totalling more than 680 million yuan, to evade financial supervision and seek illegitimate benefits, the court said.

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

Among the nine were four insurer companies — Tianan Property Insurance Co of China, Huaxia Life Insurance Co, Tianan Life Insurance Co and Yi’an P&C Insurance Co. The others are New Times Trust Co, New China Trust Co, Chengtong Securities, Guosheng Securities and Guosheng Futures.

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

It said Xiao used the illegal gains for the acquisition of financial institutions, securities trading and overseas investment. But it acknowledged his attempts to make amends.

“Xiao Jianhua has taken commendable actions, so he was given a mitigated punishment in accordance with the law,” it said.