Ex-head of Chinese insurance firm jailed for 18 years

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Beijing, May 10 (IANS) Wu Xiaohui, the former chairman and CEO of China’s Anbang Insurance Group, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for fraud and embezzlement, a court said on Thursday.

Wu was also denied his political rights for four years and 10.5 billion yuan ($1 billion) worth of his assets were seized, Efe news reported citing the court.

All his illegal gains will be recovered.

The trial of one of China’s most successful businessmen began in March and Wu pleaded guilty to a fraud involving more than 75.2 billion yuan.

Wu was under investigation from June 2017 and in February was removed from his post as head of Anbang, one of the most important insurance companies in China.

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According to the prosecution, Wu used Anbang as a fund raising platform and a channel to transfer customer premiums to line his own pockets.

He owned and controlled more than 200 companies that were little known and which had increased their participation in Anbang with investments to have absolute control over the group.

In 2011, based on Wu’s decision, the company launched a new investment product and forged documents to obtain approval from China’s Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC).

The CIRC set a limit on sales of the product, based on Anbang’s financial statement, but Wu ignored it and issued false financial reports to make people believe in the group’s ability to pay and raised much more than allowed.

Anbang is known for several high-profile international acquisitions, including the purchase in 2014 of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.

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The CIRC took control of Anbang a year ago because the company struggled to pay investors after a wave of global purchases.

A month ago the Chinese government announced that it would inject 60.8 billion yuan into the company as part of the restructuring process after the scandal.

–IANS

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