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Fugitive billionaire Guo Wengui's brother sentenced to prison

By Elizabeth Shim
Fugitive billionaire Guo Wengui's brother sentenced to prison
Fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui’s associates in China were found guilty of destroying accounting records by a court in northeastern Liaoning Province. Photo by Momocalbee/Wikimedia Commons

Dec. 15 (UPI) -- China has tried and found guilty three associates of fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, a few days after Guo told Hong Kong media he had tapes of conversations with corrupt Chinese officials.

Chinese state tabloid Global Times reported Friday the three associates, including Guo's brother Guo Wencun, are guilty of destroying accounting records, and were tried by a court in China's northeastern Liaoning Province.

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Guo Wencun, along with Zhao Guangdong of Beijing Pangu Investment, was also found guilty of illegally imprisoning a businessman following a dispute.

Guo Wencun received a 3-year, 6-month prison sentence.

Zhao and one of the other two employees, Ma Cheng, were given 2-year, 6-month sentences.

Sheng Ruigang, the third Guo associate, received a 2-year, 4-month sentence.

According to Chinese state media, all four defendants agreed they would not appeal the verdict.

"All evidence indicates the crimes committed by the defendants were carried out under the direction of Guo Wengui," the Chinese court said.

Guo is charged with obtaining $22.3 million worth of fraudulent loans as the chief owner of Henan Yuda Real Estate Company.

Two employees were sentenced at a court in Kaifeng for the fraud, and Guo left China in 2014 for the United States.

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Guo has accused China's anti-corruption chief Wang Qishan of graft, according to Bloomberg.

Wang, 69, could be promoted to vice president, and has been a friend of Chinese President Xi Jinping since the Cultural Revolution.

Wang is also an influential figure in banking circles and is reportedly close with former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, according to Bloomberg.

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