A Shanghai court has sentenced Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua to 13 years in prison and ordered him to pay a fine of 6.5 million yuan (CAD 1.2 million) on charges of the illegal absorption of public deposits, breach of trust in the use of entrusted property, illegal use of funds, and bribery.
The judgment was issued Friday by Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court, which additionally ordered Xiao’s company, Tomorrow Holdings Co, to pay 55.03 billion yuan (CAD 10.51 billion) for various related crimes.
A billionaire who enjoyed close ties to the Chinese Communist Party elite, Xiao incorporated Tomorrow Holdings in 1999. The court found that between 2010 and 2017, Xiao and Tomorrow Holdings used a number of companies they controlled to siphon more than 311.6 billion yuan (CAD 59 billion). It also concluded that Tomorrow Holdings made unauthorized use of Baoshang Bank’s client funds and entrusted assets totaling more than 148.6 billion yuan (CAD 28.1 billion). Similarly, Tomorrow Holdings was found to have illegally used funds totaling more than 190.9 billion yuan (CAD 36.1 billion) from the clients of insurance companies China Life, Tianan Life, and Yi’an Property & Casualty Insurance.
The court further found that Xiao and Tomorrow Holdings evaded financial supervision by bribing several state officials with shares, real estate, cash, and other property, for more than 680 million yuan (CAD 129 million) between 2001 and 2021.
The court’s ruling follows Xiao’s January 2017 abduction from Hong Kong’s Four Seasons hotel by an unidentified escort suspected to have been associated with Chinese security services. At the time, the event was marred with misinformation regarding his condition and whereabouts. Xiao had not been heard of or seen publicly until 2020, when Chinese officials confirmed his presence on the mainland and his cooperation in restructuring Tomorrow Holdings in the context of a regulatory take-over.
Xiao’s family has lived in Canada since 2005 and he obtained citizenship in 2008. At the start of his trial on July 4, 2022, the Canadian embassy in China asked for access to the proceedings, however, China refused, indicating that it does not recognize dual citizenship.
Xiao’s sentencing is the latest act in President Xi Jinping’s controversial campaign against corruption, as JURIST News has previously reported.