Jailed billionaire wins property sales dispute
A Zhejiang court has ruled in favour of Wu Ying, a self-made billionaire convicted of defrauding investors in a 770 million yuan (HK$950.38 million) scheme, in relation to the unauthorised sale of some of her properties. The victory in the civil case is likely to help her repay the money owed to depositors.
The Jinhua Intermediate People's Court said yesterday that lawyer Bi Jian, who claimed to represent Wu Ying's Bense Holding Group, was not authorised to sell her properties and therefore rejected his suit against the buyers for non-payment.
The verdict effectively protects Wu's 14 properties worth about 100 million yuan, according to her father, Wu Yongzheng.
The properties were sold to two individuals - Hu Ziren and Liu Xianfu - for 34.3 million yuan in 2006, with Bi claiming to represent Bense in the transactions.
But Wu Ying and Bense denied any acknowledgement of a letter of authorisation to Bi, while Wu Yongzheng alleged that the letter was fabricated.
The "cheap sale" of the properties were aimed at "seizing" Wu Ying's assets, the father said.
The court said that because Wu Ying didn't know Bi and he was not on Bense's payroll the sale of the properties was invalid.
In the two civil cases over the property disputes, Bi sued the two buyers for owing Bense a combined five million yuan to conclude the deal.
Wu Ying and her family said Yang Zhiang, a businessman who is now imprisoned, designed the scheme to sell the 14 properties cheaply to the buyers.
Wu's family said the recovery of losses from the "fake deal" would help her repay investors' money.
Wu, 30, was convicted of illegally raising 770 million yuan from investors with the intention of cheating them.
The Zhejiang People's High Court upheld a death sentence on her in January this year before the case rose to national prominence, as Wu Ying received unprecedented support from people calling for mercy.
In May, the High Court in Zhejiang upheld the death penalty but suspended it for two years.
The suspended death penalty means that Wu Ying's sentence will be commuted to life imprisonment if she behaves during the next two years.