July 14, 2024

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Billionaire Xiao Jianhua jailed for 13 years in China

A Chinese-Canadian millionaire was fined more than $8 billion (£6.7 billion) and given a 13-year prison sentence in China.

A Shanghai court said that Xiao Jianhua and his business, Tomorrow Holdings, were accused of embezzlement and corruption.

Xiao Xiao, one of the richest people in China, was last seen in 2017 as being led out of a five-star hotel in Hong Kong.

There had been no official news from him during that period until the Canadian embassy announced that he would be going on trial in July.

Xiao and his business were found guilty of “illegally absorbing public deposits, undermining confidence in the use of the entrusted property and illegal use of funds,” according to a Shanghai court statement reported by AFP. The “crime of bribery” had also been allegedly perpetrated by Tomorrow Holdings, it was further claimed.

The court claimed that Xiao and his company received a less harsh sentence because they pleaded guilty and cooperated with law enforcement. The Canadian embassy claimed that entrance to the trial had been refused by its representatives in July.

When Xiao’s eligibility to use Canadian consular services as a citizen of Canada was questioned on Friday, the Chinese foreign ministry responded that China did not recognise dual citizenship and that Xiao was thus not eligible for such rights.

Xiao was reportedly highly connected to the Communist Party’s ruling elite, including President Xi Jinping’s family.

In 2017, Xiao was unexpectedly ejected from the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong, where he was supposedly staying at the time.

The hotel’s CCTV footage shows that Xiao did not leave under duress, according to Hong Kong police, who will not release the video.

Later, Xiao claimed that he was receiving medical attention abroad in a statement that was published on the main page of a widely read daily. He praised the “rule of law” in China and said that he had not been kidnapped and taken to the Chinese mainland. In addition, his firm posted comments stating that he was fine, which were later taken down.