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A Shanghai court sentences Chinese-Canadian tycoon Xiao Jianhua to 13 years in prison

#Shanghai #court #sentences #ChineseCanadian #tycoon #Xiao #Jianhua #years #prison

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

Xiao, one of China’s richest people when he was allegedly abducted from a Hong Kong hotel in 2017, reportedly had close ties to upper echelons of the ruling Communist Party.

There was no official word on Xiao – who is a Canadian citizen – until Ottawa confirmed in July that he was being put on trial.

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

The Canadian embassy announced in July that its diplomats had been denied access to the process.

Local media in Hong Kong at the time of Xiao’s disappearance had reported that he was kidnapped by mainland Chinese agents – stoking fears of Beijing’s increasing grip on the financial hub.

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

Xiao was worth nearly $6 billion in 2017, according to the Hurun report, which lists China’s richest people.

He had reportedly denied allegations that he fled to Hong Kong in 2014 to avoid a fight against corruption in China.

Xiao is said to have acted as an intermediary for the Chinese leadership, including President Xi Jinping’s family.

“After five years of quiet waiting, based on my brother’s strict instructions, our family still has faith in the Chinese government and Chinese law,” Xiao’s older brother told Xinhua 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 have been marked by a slump in China-Canada relations, sparked by the arrest in Vancouver at the request of the United States of Meng Wanzhou – the chief financial officer of telecom giant Huawei.

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 over fraud allegations that ended her fight against extradition to the United States.

Since then, there have been hopes of a thaw in diplomatic relations after Beijing lifted an import ban on Canadian canola earlier this year.

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