Canada denies access to Chinese-Canadian billionaire’s trial, embassy says – National

Chinese authorities have blocked Canadian officials from attending the trial of Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua, the Embassy of Canada said on Tuesday.

Xiao, who went missing in Hong Kong five years ago, was due to be tried in China on Monday and Canadian consular officials had been pushing for consular access, the embassy said in a statement earlier.

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Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua is set to face trial in China

“Canada has made multiple requests to participate in the court process,” the embassy’s public diplomacy adviser, Nadia Scipio del Campo, said in a statement emailed to reporters.

“Our participation was denied by the Chinese authorities.”

When asked for further details such as confirmation of the court venue, the embassy said it would not be making any further comments due to privacy concerns.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Monday he was unaware of the situation when asked about Xiao’s trial at a media briefing.

Chinese-born Xiao, who is known to have ties to the Communist Party elite, has not been seen in public since 2017 after he was investigated as part of a state-led crackdown on conglomerates.

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Officials have not disclosed the details of the investigation.

Xiao was taken away from a Hong Kong hotel in a wheelchair with his head covered in the early hours of the day he went missing, a source close to the tycoon told Reuters at the time.

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Xiao was ranked 32nd on Hurun China’s rich list, China’s Forbes list equivalent, in 2016 with an estimated net worth at the time of $5.97 billion.

At the heart of Xiao’s empire is the financial group Tomorrow Holdings Co.


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In July 2020, regulators seized nine of the group’s affiliated institutions as part of a crackdown on risks posed by financial conglomerates.

In 2021, regulators extended the nine financial firms’ one-year acquisition deadline by another year to “continue to encourage work on risk mitigation and mitigate financial risks.”

The extended detention is scheduled to end on July 16.

The seizures followed a 2019 regulator takeover of Baoshang Bank, a lender once controlled by Tomorrow. Regulators identified serious credit risks.

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The nationwide lender has been transformed into a much smaller lender in its home region of Inner Mongolia in northern China.

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In recent years, a number of executives at major Chinese companies have been investigated or prosecuted, while President Xi Jinping has spearheaded a broader crackdown on corruption that has also captivated politicians and bankers.

Among those who fell out of favor was Jiang Jiemin, former head of China National Petroleum Corp CNPET.UL, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2015 for bribery and abuse of power.

In 2017, Ai Baojun, a former chairman of Baoshan Iron and Steel 600019.SS and later Vice Mayor of Shanghai, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for bribery and corruption.

(Reporting by Martin Quin Pollard; Additional reporting by Meg Shen and Ryan Woo; Editing by Robert Birsel)

https://globalnews.ca/news/8967278/chinese-canadian-xiao-jianhua-trial-access/ Canada denies access to Chinese-Canadian billionaire’s trial, embassy says – National

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