Former Chinese mining mogul sentenced to death
A former Chinese mining mogul was sentenced to death on Friday after being found guilty of leading a mafia-style operation in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, state-news agency Xinhua reports.
Liu Han — the former chairman of unlisted Sichuan Hanlong Group and once among the richest people in China— and his brother, Liu Wei were accused of ordering nine murders. They also faced charges of assault, extortion, illegal detention and running a local gambling ring with 34 other gang members, one of the largest criminal gangs to be tried in China in recent years.
“Liu Han and Liu Wei were deeply evil,” the court said in its sentence, according to The New York Times. “Their means were extremely cruel, their impact on society was extremely bad.”
Prosecutors say their criminal activities, dating to 1993, helped them amass $6.4bn in assets with businesses in finance, energy, property and mining.
In March, Chinese authorities reportedly seized $14.5 billion dollars worth of assets from the Han's family members and associates. In addition, more than 300 of his relatives and former colleagues were also reportedly questioned.
Han’s company, a diversified firm with interests ranging from tourism to minerals and assets of more than $3.2 billion, pursued a number of international mining deals.
A few of them have already fizzled, including the $5 billion Mbalam iron ore project straddling Cameroon and Congo-Brazzaville in Central Africa with Australia's Sundance Resources (ASX:SDL), a deal to develop an iron ore and copper-molybdenum mine with Moly Mines (ASX:MOL) in the Pilbara and another molybdenum project with US-based General Moly (NYSE:GMO), of which it owned 25%.
Liu Han, 48, was found guilty of 13 charges, including murder, running casinos and illegally selling firearms. His younger brother, Liu Wei, will also face death row.
Upon hearing the sentence Han yelled to the court he had been “framed” and “wronged,” before being taken away by guards, the South China Morning Post reports.
According to earlier reports, police seized hand grenades, half-dozen submachine guns, 20 pistols and other firearms.
The penalties on Friday come amid an anti-corruption crackdown launched by the president, Xi Jinping, that has reached senior politicians and influential businessmen.