China property tycoon gets 16 years for graft

A Chinese court jailed disgraced Shanghai property tycoon Zhou Zhengyi for 16 years on Friday for corruption, his lawyer said.

China property tycoon gets 16 years for graft

A Chinese court jailed disgraced Shanghai property tycoon Zhou Zhengyi for 16 years on Friday for corruption, his lawyer said, sealing the downfall of the former snack-shop owner who rose to become one of China's richest men.

Zhou, who only a year ago completed a three-year jail term for stock market fraud and falsifying documents, was found guilty of five charges including misappropriation of funds, bribery and forging VAT receipts.

Zhou, once named China's 11th richest man with a net worth estimated at $320 million, was detained last year in a crackdown that followed the ousting of Shanghai's former Communist Party boss, Chen Liangyu.

Chen is himself facing a criminal investigation for his part in a 3.7 billion yuan social security fund scandal. Dozens of other officials and executives have been jailed or investigated in connection with the case.

Dozens of people had gathered outside the court before the verdict was announced, many whisked away in security vans. The reason was not immediately clear.

Zhou, 45, was president of Shanghai-based property firm Nongkai Development (Group) Co. as real estate in China exploded to become one of the country's most lucrative, and graft-scarred, sectors.

Eight of the top 10 on Forbes magazine's China Rich List have large property development interests.

Zhou is not be the first of the country's super-rich to fall afoul of the law as China's wild west economy booms and regulators struggle to keep pace with market reforms.

Sun Shuhua, whose wealth was once estimated at $170 million, was arrested in May on fraud charges. Last year Zhou Yiming, who in 2005 was the youngest entrant on Forbes' list of China's richest 400, was jailed for life for fraud.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Kasım 2007, 16:16
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