In China, a billionaire was sentenced to 13 years in prison, and his company was fined a record amount

Anna Kholodnova

In Shanghai, billionaire Xiao Jianhua, who has not appeared in public since 2017, was sentenced to 13 years in prison. The court also fined his conglomerate Tomorrow Holdings 55.03 billion yuan ($8.1 billion), a record for China.

Reuters writes about it.

The Shanghai court said Xiao Jianhua was charged with illegal withdrawal of government deposits, misappropriation of funds and bribery.

According to the court, from 2001 to 2021, Xiao and Tomorrow Holdings transferred stocks, real estate, cash and other assets totaling more than 680 million yuan to government officials to evade financial controls and obtain illegal benefits.

In July 2020, Chinese regulators seized nine institutions linked to the billionaireʼs group as part of a crackdown on risks associated with financial conglomerates.

The court said that since 2004, through several levels of indirect shareholders and anonymous owners, he controlled numerous financial institutions and platforms on the Internet, including the bankrupt Baoshang Bank.

It is alleged that Xiao used the illegal profits to purchase financial institutions, trade in securities and invest overseas. But the court recognized his attempts to make amends and reduced the sentence.

"Xiao Jianhua performed commendable actions, so he was given a reduced sentence in accordance with the law," the court said.

A source told reporters that the billionaire was last seen being wheeled out of a luxury Hong Kong hotel with his head covered.

Asked about Xiaoʼs 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.

Canadaʼs Department of Foreign Affairs said it was aware of the verdict from the media. The Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will follow up on the case and request consular access to the detainee.

"The lack of transparency in Mr. Xiaoʼs trial is concerning, as is the continued lack of consular access, which prevents us from assessing his well-being," Canadaʼs foreign policy said in a statement.