Ex-Chairman of China’s Anbang ‘Doesn’t Deserve Leniency,’ Say Prosecutors

By | April 2, 2018

Chinese prosecutors said Wu Xiaohui, the former chairman of Anbang Insurance Group Co., doesn’t deserve leniency as the one-day hearing of a fundraising fraud and embezzlement case against him wrapped up.

Wu didn’t make confessions that could justify reduced penalties, the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court said on Weibo Wednesday evening [March 28], citing prosecutors who said his actions had threatened national financial security. Before falling afoul of the authorities, Wu led a multiyear deal spree that spanned the globe, including the purchase of New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel.

While Wu, whose firm was seized by the government [in February], had disputed the charges and some of the alleged facts, he was later quoted by the court as saying he “realized the crimes and regrets the crimes,” asking for leniency.

Anbang Insurance Group Co. is displayed atop Anbang Financial Center Block B in Beijing, China. Photographer: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg

The case against Wu included defrauding Anbang Property & Casualty Insurance of an alleged 65.2 billion yuan ($10.4 billion), the amount claimed to be still missing from 160 billion yuan in unauthorized sales proceeds that he transferred into companies he secretly controlled.

Zhang Yaojun, a senior partner at Beijing Zhongwen Law Firm, called it the biggest fundraising fraud case in China, with a potential punishment of life imprisonment. The court didn’t say when its ruling will come.

The speedy hearing contrasts with white-collar fraud cases that can drag on for months or years in other countries. After politician Bo Xilai was arrested in a corruption case that rocked the country in 2012, his trial lasted five days. His sentence came a month later.

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