China's one-time richest man jailed for 14 years

Tue May 18, 2010 1:40pm EDT
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's one-time richest man and the founder of a major retail chain was jailed for 14 years on Tuesday for bribery, insider trading and illegal business dealings, state media reported.

Huang Guangyu was also fined 600 million yuan ($88 million) and had another 200 million yuan worth of property confiscated, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing a court statement.

His two firms, Gome Electrical Appliances Holdings Ltd and Pengrun, were fined 5 million yuan ($735,000) and 1.2 million yuan respectively for paying bribes.

In a statement sent by email, Gome said it would review its legal position in coming days.

"GOME respects the court's judgment," the company said.

It said the fine, if executed, would "not materially affect the company's business operations or financial position".

"The court's decision eliminated most of the uncertainties that have been surrounding GOME," it said.

Huang's wife, Du Juan, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison and fined 200 million yuan for insider trading. The couple have 10 days to lodge an appeal, Xinhua said.

Huang, who made his fortune by founding and building up GOME -- dubbed by local media as China's Best Buy -- was detained in November 2008 during a police investigation of stock market manipulation allegations.   Continued...

<p>Huang Guangyu, chairman of GOME Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd., attends a news conference in Hong Kong August 17, 2006. REUTERS/Bobby Yip</p>