Former chairman of Anbang Insurance Group, Wu Xiaohui, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for fundraising fraud and embezzlement of corporate funds.
The Shanghai First Intermediate People’s Court also ordered the confiscation of RMB10.5bn ($1.7bn) in assets from Wu, according to state news agency Xinhua.
Wu initially struck a defiant tone in court, denying the charges against him, but in late March relented and “expressed deep self-reflection, understanding of and regret for the crimes and expressed deep remorse for his actions”, according to an official summary from the court in Shanghai.
He potentially faced life in prison, with prosecutors accusing him of defrauding investors by diverting billions from the sale of investment products to related companies he personally controlled.
A series of investigative reports on Anbang in 2017 by Caixin, a Chinese financial news magazine, prompted suspicions that senior Communist party leaders were targeting Wu. His downfall is the latest for China’s financial sector, which since 2016 has endured a sustained crackdown on foreign acquisitions amid worries about capital flight and currency weakness.