Thirteen years in prison, a personal fine of 945,000 euros and a fine of no less than 8 billion euros for his financial group “Tomorrow: On Friday, the 19th banker of the red princes”, whose fall was as spectacular as his rise.
Born in 1972 to a teacher father, Xiao Jianhua entered Peking University at the age of 14. As president of the official student union, he opposes the 1989 Tiananmen Square student movement. The authorities will remember that. As early as the 1990s, Xiao Jianhua began selling Dell and IBM computers near his former university campus. He also works for Microsoft. In just a few years, he has accumulated a fortune estimated at more than 100 million euros.
Thanks to his connections, he then founded an investment fund whose shareholders included none other than Peking University and invested the money of wealthy Chinese in various sectors such as finance, real estate, technology or energy, particularly benefiting from the privatization wave around the turn of the century. Zeng Qinghong and Jia Qinglin, two members of the Party’s Politburo Standing Committee, the highest circle of power, between 2003 and 2008, owe their fortunes in part to his investments.
When Xi Jinping came to power in 2013 and his sister and brother-in-law preferred to part with their own fortune, Xiao Jianhua bought their shares in an investment company for $2.4 million (about 1.8 million euros), according to the New York Times. In 2016, Xiao was ranked 32nd among Chinese fortunes by Hurun, the benchmark ranking. His fortune is estimated at $6 billion. As the owner of magnificent residences in the United States and Canada, he received Canadian citizenship.
Kidnapped in Hong Kong in 2017
But with Xi Jinping and his fight against corruption, the tide is turning. Xiao Jianhua was informed of an imminent arrest and moved to the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong, a theoretically autonomous area. But in 2017, as the 19th party congress draws near, the Chinese government intensified its campaign. According to the hotel’s surveillance cameras, a group of men entered his suite on the night of January 26-27, 2017 and came out a few hours later, taking Xiao Jianhua in a wheelchair and covering his head with a bag. He will cross the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border on the 27th before disappearing into mainland China. A kidnapping? He is “resting abroad,” according to a Tomorrow Group press release. Xiao Jianhua will not provide any news for five and a half years until he appears again in a Shanghai court on July 4.
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