Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The High Court of the Chinese province of Hubei today confirmed the death sentence against Liu Han, a mining tycoon who has fallen out of favor but formerly very close to the ex national security czar Zhou Yongkang.
The industrialist had appealed against the sentence handed down in May 2014 by the Intermediate People's Court of Xianning, which convicted him of 13 counts: among them, murder and criminal association. After hearing the sentence, the man burst into tears (see photo).
Along with Liu Han, his younger brother, Liu Wei and 3 other people were sentenced to death: but the trial which was much broader, involved around 31 managers from the Hanglong Group, a company founded by Liu in 1997. The penalties they received range from 3 to 20 years in prison: the charges are the same. Now the Beijing Supreme Court will rule - in the last instance of appeal - but only on the death penalty: imprisonment and fines remain unchanged.
The Hanglong Group has interests ranging from the energy sector to real estate: the court sentenced him to pay 300 million yuan (30 million euro) for using information "in a fraudulent manner, with the aim of obtaining bank loans and overdrafts". According to the judges, Liu has used his personal friendship with Zhou Bin - the eldest son of Zhou Yongkang - to get this money.
The death sentence against the industrial is part of a broader campaign launched by the government against corruption in the country and, specifically, against the power group connected to Zhou. Once described as "the most powerful politician in China", he was formally indicted on corruption charges on July 29.