Crime & Justice

China court gives 13-year jail to Canadian tycoon who disappeared in 2017

Shanghai, China, Aug 19 (EFE).- A court sentenced a Chinese-Canadian businessman to 13 years in prison on Friday, almost five years after he went missing mysteriously from a Hong Kong hotel.

The state-run China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported that the court in Shanghai found Xiao Jianhua, 50, and his embattled firm, Tomorrow Holding, guilty of illegal fundraising, misuse of funds, and bribery.

The court slapped fines of 6.5 million yuan ($962,500) on him and more than $8 billion on Tomorrow Holding.

It said that Xiao and his company “violated financial management orders and jeopardized national financial security.”

It is believed that the trial of the businessman began in early July.

The Canadian embassy in China has criticized the local authorities for denying consular access to the accused and preventing its diplomats from accessing the trial process.

The authorities barred the media from covering the trial shrouded in secrecy.

Xiao was taken away from the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong in 2017. But the city authorities have denied it.

His alleged kidnapping came when Chinese agents were not allowed to operate in Hong Kong.

The enforced disappearance of city inhabitants following the kidnapping prompted numerous concerns about Beijing’s authority.

It increased citizens’ suspicions that they would be arrested by Chinese agents and tried on the mainland during the massive pro-democracy demonstrations that shook Hong Kong in 2019.

More than year-and-half after his disappearance, the businessman reappeared in a court in Shanghai.

Citing sources, the South China Morning Post reported that he was detained in the nearby city of Suzhou and had lost about 20 kg since his disappearance.

On the Hurun list of China’s wealthiest men in 2016, Xiao came in at the 32nd spot. His estimated total wealth was $6 billion.

Despite his modest profile, he was widely known for his links to China’s political elite, including relatives of President Xi Jinping.

He headed a variety of companies, including mining and insurance. EFE


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