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Former tycoon has death sentence commuted

Updated: 2014-07-12 07:04
By Yan Yiqi in Hangzhou ( China Daily)

Former tycoon Wu Ying, who was convicted in 2012 of investment fraud, had her death sentence with a two-year reprieve commuted to life in prison by Zhejiang High People's Court on Friday.

The commutation came after Wu had already served two years in prison with good behavior. Wu Yongzheng, her father, said he will refile an appeal to get his daughter acquitted.

"The commutation did not come as a surprise. I still hold the belief that my daughter is innocent, and I will keep appealing the court for an acquittal," he said.

"It will be a very long and difficult time for us, but we insist that we have justice."

He first filed an appeal for an acquittal in February 2013 but said he has yet to hear a response.

Wu Ying, 33, who is the owner of Zhejiang-based Bense Holding Group and was once one of China's richest women, was found guilty of illegally raising 770 million yuan ($123 million) from 11 investors from 2003 to 2005 and cheating them out of 380 million yuan by offering high returns on their investments.

She reportedly spent the money on a lavish lifestyle, according to the court's verdict that found her guilty in May 2012.

Wu Yongzheng said the court underestimated his daughter's assets and her ability to pay off her debts.

"As far as I know, her current assets are totally capable of paying off the investors. The court cannot rule that she is incapable of paying them back," Wu Yongzheng said.

Wu Ying's lawyer, Zhu Jianwei, urged the court to respond to the appeal and clarify Wu Ying's total assets.

"Normally, when an appeal is made, the court should respond within three to six months. A year has passed, and we have not heard a thing from them. They should also give us a clear value of her assets," he said.

According to the Supreme People's Court, an individual who illegally raises capital of more than a million yuan will face charges of fundraising fraud. They often face sentences of life imprisonment or death.

Wu Ying was originally sentenced to death in January 2012, but the Supreme People's Court rejected her death sentence. Her sentence was reduced to a death sentence with a two-year reprieve following a retrial in May 2012.

According to the Criminal Law, criminals serving a stay of execution can apply for a reduction in their sentence to life imprisonment or to 25 years in prison if the convict does not have a criminal record.

On July 23, six apartments under the ownership of Bense Holding Group will be auctioned off on, China's largest e-commerce platform.

The total starting price for the six apartments is 8.48 million yuan.


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