Since his apparent abduction in Hong Kong, Xiao Jianhua would have been kept in isolation most of the time, WSJ sources reported.
Xiao Jianhua, a Canadian-born tycoon in China and disappeared in Hong Kong in 2017, will face trial on criminal charges in Shanghai this month, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing “sources familiar” with the matter.
Xiao, who is estimated to have assets of 5,000 million dollars at the time of his disappearance, will be accused of illegally collecting public deposits, a crime that can lead to a prison sentence of five years or more, depending on the severity, people familiar with the case need.
“After five years of silent waiting, our family continues, under the strict instructions of my brother, trusting the Government and the law of China. We hope that the authorities can give our family an acceptable conclusion,” said the businessman’s older brother in statements to WSJ.
On January 27, 2017, a group of human traffickers kidnapped the billionaire and took him in a wheelchair from the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong, where he had lived for several years, before taking him to mainland China, where was handed over to the authorities. Since his disappearance, he has been kept for much of the time in isolation, the sources reported.
The Canadian Government assured at the time that it was collecting information and that it would provide assistance. Since then, he has said that he continues to raise the case with the Chinese authorities, but has not offered details, alleging the need to protect the privacy of the person involved.
Xiao, who founded and ran the financial group Tomorrow Holdings, he built his initial fortune by investing in brokerages, banks and insurance companies just before they took off. He later expanded into real estate and agriculture.
After his demise, the tycoon’s business empire was dismantled by Chinese regulators . By 2020, they had taken control of four insurance companies, two trust companies, two securities companies and one futures company, which together were worth hundreds of billions of dollars.