Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua, who disappeared in Hong Kong five years ago, is to be tried in China on Monday, the Canadian embassy in Beijing said.
Chinese-born Xiao, who is known to have ties to the elite Chinese Communist Party, has not been seen in public since 2017 after he was investigated in a state-led conglomerate crackdown. The details of the probe were not disclosed by officials.
Xiao was taken away from a luxury hotel in Hong Kong in a wheelchair in the early hours of the morning, his head covered, a source close to the tycoon told Reuters at the time.
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“Global Affairs Canada, our Home Office, is aware that a court hearing will take place today in the case of Canadian citizen Mr. Xiao Jianhua,” an Embassy of Canada official told Reuters by phone, reading a statement from Ottawa.
“Canadian consular officials are closely monitoring this case, providing consular services to his family and continuing to push for consular access.”
Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said Monday he was unaware of the situation when asked about Xiao’s trial at a media briefing.
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.
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At the heart of Xiao’s empire is the financial group Tomorrow Holdings Co.
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In July 2020, nine of the group’s affiliated institutions were seized by Chinese regulators as part of a crackdown on the risks posed by financial conglomerates.
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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 takeover of Baoshang Bank, a lender once controlled by Tomorrow, by regulators citing serious credit risks.
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 as part of a broader crackdown on corruption led by President Xi Jinping that has also involved 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 who later became vice mayor of Shanghai, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for bribery and corruption.
(Reporting by Martin Quin Pollard in Beijing and Meg Shen in Hong Kong; Writing by Ryan Woo; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)
https://globalnews.ca/news/8964910/xiao-jianhua-canadian-chinese-tycoon-trial/ Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua to face trial in China – National