1pc of Chinese billionaires jailed

Beijing, December 15

Just over one per cent of Chinese billionaires identified by the Hurun Report as the country’s richest over the past 17 years have been jailed, charged or even executed mainly for bribery, embezzlement or economy-related crimes, the publication said.

On its website, the Hurun Report said 35 of the more than 3,000 billionaires that have featured on its annual Hurun Rich List, dubbed by local media as a ‘slaughter list’ since it was launched in 1999, have run into trouble with the law.

The biggest number — 11 — were real estate tycoons, the report said, followed by nine finance industry executives. Shanghai and Beijing were home to most of the offenders, who on average were sentenced to jail at age 47 for 10 years, report added.

Hurun Founder Rupert Hoogewerf told Reuters the number of billionaire offenders was lower than the number of government officials and executives at state-owned enterprises who have been arrested or are under investigation for corruption.

President Xi Jinping’s widespread crackdown on corruption has also ensnared several billionaires over the past few years, including Xu Ming, a former business ally of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai and the founder of plastics-to-property conglomerate Dalian Shide Group, who died in prison earlier this month.

Last week, the disappearance of Guo Guangchang, one of China’s best-known billionaires and the chairman of Fosun Group, sparked speculation that he was being drawn into the corruption crackdown.

Guo, ranked 17 on this year’s Hurun Rich List, appeared at a company meeting on Monday after the company said he had been assisting the authorities in an investigation.