Billionaire Xiao Jianhua jailed for 13 years in China

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Image Source: Bloomberg

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

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

One of China’s wealthiest individuals, Xiao, was last seen being escorted from a five-star hotel in Hong Kong in 2017.

Before the Canadian embassy announced that he would be going on trial in July, there had been no official word from him. The trial allegedly got underway on July 4th.

According to a Shanghai court statement cited by AFP, Xiao and his company were found guilty of “illegally absorbing public deposits, breaching confidence in the use of entrusted property… [and] illegal use of funds.” Furthermore, it claimed that Tomorrow Holdings had committed the “crime of bribery.”

It went on to say that Xiao and his company had “seriously broken the financial management order” and “harmed the financial security of the state.”

According to the court, because Xiao and his business entered a guilty plea and worked with law enforcement, their punishment was lightened. In July, the Canadian embassy said that its officials had been kept from going to the trial.

When asked on Friday if Xiao, who is a Canadian citizen, could use Canadian consular services, the Chinese foreign ministry said that China did not recognize dual citizenship, so Xiao did not have the right to do so.

According to reports, Xiao was well connected to the leadership of the Communist Party in power, including President Xi Jinping’s family. The Hurun Report, which ranks the richest people in China, says that by 2016, his net worth had grown to about $6 billion (£4.7 billion).

How did Xiao Jianhua fare?

In 2017, Xiao was taken out of the Hong Kong Four Seasons Hotel, where he was thought to be living at the time.

His family reported him missing to Hong Kong authorities after he vanished, but they later retracted the report after saying they had “regained touch” with Xiao. According to surveillance footage at the location, Xiao did not leave the hotel under coercion, according to Hong Kong police, who declined to share the tape.

In a later statement that appeared on the front page of a widely read daily, Xiao claimed that he was receiving medical care abroad. He added that he had not been abducted and taken to the Chinese mainland while praising the “rule of law” in China.

Additionally, his firm issued comments claiming that he was fine; these were later taken down.