[JURIST] A Beijing intermediate court [backgrounder] sentenced two brothers to life in prison on Tuesday after ruling that the brothers’ peer-to-peer lending company, Ezubao, was a Ponzi scheme. One of the brothers, Ding Ning, was founder [Reuters report] of the company and chairman of the Anhui Yucheng Holdings Group. His crimes included illegal fundraising and “smuggling precious metals.” The Ponzi scheme collected the equivalent of over USD $9 billion from nearly one million investors, making it “close to one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in modern Chinese history.” Twenty-five others involved in scheme were also arrested for up to 15 years.
In January China’s President Xi Jinping declared [JURIST report] that the nation’s battle against corruption “must go deeper,” stressing the need for the Communist Party to be governed “systematically, creatively and efficiently.” That month a former China Nation Petroleum general manager was sentenced [JURIST report] to 15 years in prison for corruption. In December the Chinese government announced [JURIST report] that it will prosecute Ma Jian, a former vice minister of China’s Ministry of State Security, on bribery charges. That same month, the Chinese government also arrested [JURIST report] Iat Hong and Chin Hung of Macau, and Bo Zheng of China on cybersecurity allegations. In October 2015 a former chairman of CNPC was sentenced to 16 years in prison for corruption [JURIST report].