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Tycoon gets life sentence for fraud
Latest Updated by 2006-12-04 16:25:57

A SHENZHEN-BASED tycoon, who was the youngest person on Forbes magazine's list of China's 400 richest people last year, was sentenced to life imprisonment Friday (Dec 1) after being found guilty of contractual fraud involving millions of U.S. dollars.


Zhou Yiming, 32, forged financial reports of his Shenzhen Minglun Group Ltd. in August 2002 to borrow 380 million yuan (US$48 million) from three banks, which he then used to acquire a 28-percent stake in Sichuan Mingxing Electric.


The Suining Intermediate People's Court held that Zhou began to siphon capital from the Sichuan company after he gained control, acquiring about 550 million yuan with the help of several accomplices.


Sichuan Mingxing Electric is a major supplier of water, electricity and gas to 3.8 million residents in Suining in Southwest China's Sichuan Province.


The court sentenced Zhou to life in prison and confiscated his property, and handed down prison sentences ranging from three to five years to five of his accomplices, also for contractual fraud.


Zhou plans to appeal.


It is the first time in China that an executive has been convicted of fraud after siphoning capital from a listed company. In the past, similar suspects were convicted of crimes of "property conversion" or "obtaining a company registered by making false financial reports."


The maximum punishment for fraud is a life sentence while the maximum for "property conversion" and others is 10 years in prison.


"The verdict shows China's determination to fight crimes related to stock markets," said Tang Qingyang, head of the School of Economic Law of the Southwest University of Political Science & Law.


Tang said the harsh punishment would play a vital role in regulating the capital market and protecting the interests of investors in China.


Editor: Wing

By: Source:China View website
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