Xiao Jianhua, a Chinese-Canadian billionaire who was the center of an alleged kidnapping scandal in Hong Kong in 2017, has been sentenced to 13 years in prison by a Shanghai court and his company has been fined 55.03 billion yuan (6.8 billion). pounds) imposed.
Xiao, 50, and his Tomorrow Holdings conglomerate were charged with illegally absorbing public deposits, treason for the use of entrusted property and the illegal use of funds and bribery, the Shanghai First Intermediate Court said.
Xiao was also fined 6.5 million yuan for the crimes, the Shanghai court said, accusing him and Tomorrow of “seriously violated financial management” and “harming the state’s financial security.”
From 2001 to 2021, Xiao and Tomorrow gave shares, real estate, cash and other assets to government officials totaling more than 680 million yuan to evade financial supervision and promote illegitimate interests, the court said.
Born in China, Xiao studied at the country’s highest institution, Peking University, and was known for his ties to the country’s communist party elite. But he hasn’t been seen in public since 2017 after being investigated amid a state-led conglomerate crackdown.
A reclusive figure, Xiao’s vast corporate fortune was turned upside down in January 2017 when he was dragged from Hong Kong’s Four Seasons hotel in a wheelchair, allegedly by plain-clothes Chinese security agents, who were banned from operating in Hong Kong at the time. .
According to a New York Times report, he was taken across the border to China, possibly by boat to avoid immigration controls.
Hong Kong police said at the time that he had crossed the border into mainland China. Morgen also said he was on the mainland. Still, the episode shocked Hong Kong at a time of increased Beijing influence. Two years earlier, five booksellers in Hong Kong disappeared from various locations in Asia and resurfaced in mainland China.
In the years since his disappearance, Xiao’s business empire had been restructured. In July 2020, nine of the group’s related institutions were seized by Chinese regulators as part of a crackdown on risks posed by financial conglomerates. A few months later, state investment firm China Chengtong Holdings Group said it would acquire a majority stake in a securities company affiliated with Tomorrow Group.
But news of Xiao’s fate only began to emerge this year. He was finally brought to trial last month, more than five years after his alleged kidnapping.