Fugitive Chinese tycoon’s niece and finance chief guilty of fraud
One jailed and one given suspended sentence for obtaining loans under false pretences while working for Guo Wengui’s real estate company
The niece of fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui and one of his employees at a real estate firm have been convicted and sentenced for fraud.
Guo’s real estate firm Henan Yuda Real Estate was also fined 150 million yuan (US$22 million), in a ruling by the Kaifeng Intermediate People’s Court released on Friday.
Guo Lijie, niece of Guo Wengui and deputy manager of the company, was handed a 1½-year sentence, suspended for two years. The company’s chief financial officer Zhang Xincheng was given a two-year jail sentence.
Xiao Yanling, deputy financial officer of the company, was exempted from criminal penalty. All three defendants accepted the judgment and said they would not appeal.
The three employees were instructed by Guo to fraudulently obtain loans worth nearly 1.5 billion yuan between 2008 and 2015 from banks in Henan province, the court found.
Some of the money was used to repay debts or it was transferred abroad or to another Guo family company, Beijing Pangu Investment, it said.
The court said their behaviour had “disrupted the order of the country’s financial management and imperilled its financial security” but they were given a lesser punishment because of their confession and repentance of their crimes.
More than 200 million yuan in loans had not been repaid until the fraud was uncovered by police, it said.
Guo Wengui founded and formerly owned the company but transferred it to his brother in 2004, previous court documents show.
However, the three executives said the exiled tycoon retained full control and they did not have much say at the company.
In court last month, Guo Lijie wept and said she deeply regretted her behaviour, adding: “I was blindly following instructions from Guo Wengui when I crossed the line”.
Three employees of Beijing Pangu Investment were sentenced in June for fraudulently obtaining loans and buying foreign currency according to the tycoon’s instructions.
Guo, who is living in the United States and wanted by Beijing, has made a series of corruption allegations via social media against top Chinese leaders and company officials but has yet to provide evidence to support those claims.
Apart from the cases concerning his company, Guo has been sued by China’s vice minister of housing and urban-rural development Huang Yan, actress Fan Bingbing, journalist Hu Shuli and SOHO China Chief Pan Shiyi following his allegations about a number of celebrities and officials.