Chinese billionaire Huang Guangyu sentenced to 14 years in prison

Chinese billionaire Huang Guangyu, ranked No. 1 on the 2008 Hurun Report Rich List of China’s wealthiest business people, is the latest victim of China’s crackdown against freewheeling business barons. On Tuesday, a Beijing court sentenced Huang Guangyu to 14 years in prison for “illegal business dealings, insider trading, and corporate bribery” and fined him $88milion as well as confiscated assets worth 429million. His wife Du Juan received a 3½-year sentence and a fine of $29 million. His fortune was estimated at up to $6.3 billion. Even after his detention, Huang was No. 17 on last year’s list with a net worth of $3.4 billion. This is definitely a sad ending to his rags to riches story. Born to poor farmers in south China, Huang helped recycle rubbish to get by.

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At the age of 16, he dropped out of school, and in 1986, he and his older brother used their $585 earnings and a $4,400 loan to open a clothes shop in Beijing. They soon moved into imported household appliances. Today, Huang is credited with founding China’s equivalent of Best Buy. In fact, Huang and his 1,100-store company, Gome Electronics, were entrepreneurial success symbols for several years.
As Huang prepares his 14-year long stay behind bars, there is only one consolation, and he still owns 34% of Gome.
[USA Today]

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