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China charges country’s richest man with financial crimes

Posted by Author on February 15, 2010

AFP, Feb. 15, 2010-

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.

The indictment of Huang Guangyu brings China one step closer to what is expected to be the highest-profile trial yet in the country of a private entrepreneur, and one that will be watched closely in the business community.

Huang, who had been held by authorities for 14 months without charge, will be tried in a Beijing court, without specifying a start date, 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, 40, 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.

Before his arrest, Huang was revered in the media as a model entrepreneur who rose from nothing by successfully capitalising on China’s decades of economic reforms……. (more details from AFP)

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