Chinese-Canadian tycoon Xiao Jianhua sentenced to 13 years in prison by Shanghai court

Chinese-Canadian tycoon sentenced to 13 years in prison by Shanghai court

Xiao was found guilty of illegal financial activities. (Case)

Shanghai:

A Shanghai court announced on Friday that it had sentenced Chinese-Canadian tycoon Xiao Jianhua to 13 years in prison for financial crimes.

Xiao, one of the richest people in China at the time allegedly kidnapped from a Hong Kong hotel in 2017, reportedly had close ties to the upper echelons of the ruling Communist Party.

There had been no official word about Xiao – who is a Canadian citizen – until Ottawa confirmed in July that he was face a trial.

Xiao was found guilty of “illegal absorption of public deposits…(and) illegal use of funds,” Shanghai Intermediate People’s Court No. 1 said in a statement.

The Canadian embassy said in July that its diplomats had been denied access to the trial.

Local Hong Kong media had reported at the time of Xiao’s disappearance that he had been abducted by mainland Chinese agents, fueling fears of Beijing’s tightening influence in the financial hub.

Those fears were at the heart of the massive pro-democracy protests that rocked Hong Kong in 2019, sparked by a government bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China’s opaque, party-controlled justice system.

According to the Hurun Report, which ranks China’s richest people, Xiao was worth nearly $6 billion in 2017.

He would have had allegations denied that he fled to Hong Kong in 2014 to escape a corruption crackdown in China.

Xiao reportedly acted as an intermediary for Chinese leaders, including President Xi Jinping’s family.

“After five years of quiet waiting, our family continues, based on my brother’s strict instructions, to trust the Chinese government and Chinese law,” Xiao’s older brother told Xinhua to the Wall Street Journal. in June this year.

“It’s very complicated and full of drama,” he said of the case, according to the WSJ.

The years following Xiao’s disappearance were marked by a downfall in relations between China and Canada, sparked by the arrest in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of telecoms giant Huawei, at the request of the United States. United.

After Meng’s arrest, Beijing detained two Canadians in China and targeted Canadian agricultural exports.

All three were released in September 2021 after Meng reached a settlement with US prosecutors on fraud charges, ending her fight against extradition to the United States.

Since then, there have been hopes for a thaw in diplomatic relations, with Beijing lifting a ban on Canadian canola imports earlier this year.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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