China charges tycoon with financial crimes

BEIJING: A Chinese court has charged the founder of home appliance giant GOME -- once the country's richest man -- with bribery, insider trading and illegal business dealings, state media reported.

Huang Guangyu, who has been detained for more than 14 months without charge, will be tried in a Beijing court, the Xinhua news agency said Sunday, citing local media.

He is suspected of manipulating trading in two mainland-listed companies, China's Securities Regulatory Commission has previously said.

A court official declined to comment on the case when contacted by AFP on Monday.

Huang, once known as the "Price Butcher" for the low prices at his chain of consumer electronics stores, was named China's richest man with an estimated net worth of 6.3 billion dollars by the Hurun Report in October 2008.

He was detained and placed under investigation a month later, and resigned as GOME director and chairman in January 2009.

Two top police officials including a former deputy minister of public security, were detained on suspicion of bribery in connection with the case.

Huang, a high school drop-out, started building his fortune when he was 16, with a roadside stall in Beijing selling radios and gadgets that he bought from factories near his hometown in south China's Guangdong province.

He also topped the Hurun Report's rankings of China's richest in 2004 and 2005.

Trading in Hong Kong-listed GOME was suspended in November 2008 after Huang was placed under investigation.

But it resumed in June last year after new chairman Chen Xiao announced that private equity firm Bain Capital would invest 233 million US dollars through a bond issue.