Anbang's Wu Sentenced to 18 Years in Jail for $10 Billion Fraud

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(Bloomberg) -- Wu Xiaohui, former chairman of Anbang Insurance Group Co., was sentenced to 18 years in prison after being convicted of fund-raising fraud and embezzlement, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

The verdict from a Shanghai court also said Wu will be deprived of his political rights for four years, 10.5 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) of his assets will be confiscated, and any illegal gains will be retrieved, according to Xinhua.

The verdict seals the remarkable downfall of a dealmaker who was accused in March of masterminding a $10.2 billion fraud, as President Xi Jinping expands his anti-corruption campaign and a drive to curb financial risks.

Anbang gained global recognition in 2014 with the purchase of New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, and went on to snap up marquee assets around the world before landing in the cross hairs of the Chinese regulators last year. The government seized temporary control of Anbang in February, injected 60.8 billion yuan of capital to bolster its solvency in April and has been seeking new investors for the 2 trillion yuan conglomerate.

Wu used unauthorized sales of investment-type insurance products to inflate the company’s capital, the court said in March as Wu stood trial. Proceeds from sales of such short-term, high-yield products also powered Anbang’s rapid growth over the past few years and its acquisitions spanning from insurers and banks in Europe and Asia to real estate assets around the globe.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

With assistance from Zhang Dingmin

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