March 31 (Bloomberg) -- The trial of the former chairman of Sichuan Hanlong Group Co. on charges of murder and organizing Mafia-like groups started in the central Chinese city of Xianning, the court said on its official Weibo account.
Liu Han and 35 others including his brother are accused of organizing, leading and taking part in gangs, intentionally killing and injuring people, carrying out illegal detentions and gun trading, among other charges, the Xianning Intermediate People’s Court said.
The trial marks a turnaround for Liu Han, a businessman who was ranked the 492nd richest person in China with a fortune of $650 million by the Shanghai-based Hurun report in September. While chairman of Sichuan Hanlong, the company made a bid for Australian miner Sundance Resources Ltd.
Liu’s case shows the intersection of gangland tactics with business and the state that President Xi Jinping has vowed to tackle through an anti-graft campaign. Liu served as a member of the Sichuan provincial Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a political advisory body, and had a network of officials on his side, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
The 15 charges from the prosecution include collusive bidding, illegal business, blackmail, intentional destruction of property, fraudulent loans, bank acceptance bills and financial instruments, according to the court’s notice on its Weibo account.
Liu Han and his associates managed to amass 40 billion yuan ($6.43 billion) in assets from more than 70 companies, as well as hundreds of cars including Rolls-Royces, Bentleys and Ferraris, Xinhua reported on Feb. 20.
The case also involves the murder of three people in January 2009 in Sichuan’s Guanghan city, Xinhua reported last month when the case was submitted to the court. Liu Wei, the younger brother of Liu Han, was a suspect in that case. Liu Han helped his brother go into hiding afterward, meeting with him many times and giving him millions of yuan in cash, Xinhua said.
Born in 1965, Liu is the son of teachers from Guanghan. He set up the Hanlong Group in Sichuan’s Mianyang city in 1997, according to Xinhua. He was also chairman of Sichuan Jinlu Group Co.
To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Henry Sanderson in Beijing at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at email@example.com