May 23 (Bloomberg) -- Liu Han, the former chairman of Sichuan Hanlong Group, was sentenced to death for crimes including murder and leading an organized crime group in China.
Liu Wei, Liu Han’s younger brother, was also sentenced to death, along with three others, the Xianning Intermediate People’s Court said on its official Weibo account. Five more people were handed death penalties with two-year probation, meaning their sentences could be reduced to life in prison.
In all 36 people were sentenced for crimes associated with Liu Han, who was one of the top 500 richest people in China with a fortune of $650 million, according to a wealth ranking published in September by the Shanghai-based Hurun Report. While Liu Han was chairman of Sichuan Hanlong, the company made a bid for Australian miner Sundance Resources Ltd.
The 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 also served as a member of the Sichuan provincial Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a political advisory body. Three government officials, were among those sentenced today.
Hanlong Group will be fined 300 million yuan ($48 million) for fabricating financial documents. All the assets of the five sentenced to death without probation will be confiscated.
The three government officials, are former police officers Liu Xuejun and Lv Bing at Sichuan city of Deyang, and Liu Zhongwei, the former deputy prosecutor general at the city of Shifang. They were sentenced to 16 years, 11 years and 13 years in prison for taking bribes and helping hide crimes, according to the Weibo account statement.
Liu Han was suspected of involvement in Mafia-like activities for more than a decade, which led to the deaths of eight people, the statement said. The investigation, ordered by the Communist Party, began in March 2013.
The prosecution centered around the murder of three people in January 2009 in Sichuan’s Guanghan city, the official Xinhua new service said. Liu Wei was one of the suspects in that case and helped his brother go into hiding afterward, it said.
Born in 1965, Liu Han is the son of teachers from Sichuan’s Guanghan city. Liu Han told the Wall Street Journal in December 2010 that he made his money speculating on steel pipes while still in his twenties, parlaying that into a fortune trading on China’s newly created and chaotic markets in the early 1990s.
Liu Han and his associates managed to amass 40 billion yuan in assets from more than 70 companies, as well as hundreds of cars including Rolls-Royces, Bentleys and Ferraris, Xinhua reported on Feb. 20.
Liu Han was also chairman of publicly traded Sichuan Jinlu Group Co., Xinhua said. His brother Liu Wei was an entrepreneur and had carried the Olympic torch during its relay in the city in 2008, according to Xinhua.
Liu Han had led the $1.2 billion takeover bid for Australian iron ore miner Sundance, which collapsed last year after his reported detention.
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