Beijing Higher People's Court on Saturday rejected former Shenzhen Airlines senior adviser Li Zeyuan's appeal and upheld the original sentence of 14 years in jail for embezzling funds, bringing an end to a four-year investigation into the high-rolling businessman.
Li was charged with misusing public funds totaling 2.03 billion yuan (US$367.4 million) and conspiring to use airline funds to make debt payments to private companies he controlled, causing the airline losses totaling 750 million yuan.
Li, born in 1956, actually ran Shenzhen Airlines even though he was listed only as an adviser, the court said.
Shenzhen Airlines was a State-owned enterprise when it was established in 1992. But in 2005, Shenzhen Huirun Investment Co., which is controlled by Li, and Yiyang Group bought Shenzhen Airlines shares worth 2.72 billion yuan at an auction.
In 1979, Li was sentenced to two years in jail for receiving stolen goods. In 1994, he was sentenced to 15 years for fraud, smuggling and forging certificates, but was released on parole in 2003.