Wu Xiaohui, the former chairman of Anbang Insurance Group, was found guilty of illegal fundraising and defrauding the company. The Chinese government took over the firm in February.
The Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court on Thursday convicted Wu Xiaohui, the founder and former chairman of China's Anbang Insurance Group, of fraudulently raising billions from investors, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Wu, 51, was found guilty of defrauding Anbang, which owns the Waldorf hotel in New York City, of 62.25 billion yuan (€8.3 billion, $10.4 billion). The Shanghai court sentenced him to 18 years in prison and ordered the confiscation of 10.4 million yuan worth of his property.
During his one-day trial in March, the court revealed that the funds were transferred to companies Wu controlled for investment overseas, to pay down debts, or "personally squandered."
Between 2011 and 2017, in order to deceive regulators, Wu ordered others to produce false earnings reports, disclose false information, fake fund injections and conceal insurance revenue, the court said.
Wu initially denied the charges, saying he was unaware that his activities had violated the law. He later admitted his guilt during his trial in March, which was shown on state TV.
China's insurance regulator seized Anbang, which Wu founded in 2004, in February in an unprecedented takeover. The Beijing-based company reported in April that it had received a 60.8 billion yuan injection, which meant the government fund owned 98 percent of the company.
The Chinese government has become increasingly alarmed by private companies' murky web of subsidiaries and debt, and is trying to prevent them from posing a threat to the world's second-largest economy.
dv/rt (AFP, AP)