China’s top court has overturned a fraud conviction against an electronics tycoon who had been jailed for 10 years, as Beijing seeks to boost private sector sentiment by reassuring entrepreneurs.
Gu Chujun, who is the second of a group of three prominent businessman to have their cases retried by the supreme court, pioneered the manufacture of CFC-free refrigerators and was one of China’s richest men in the early 2000s when he was a key player in the country’s nascent capital markets. He was jailed in 2008 for accounting fraud and embezzlement.
The court said that Mr Gu, former chairman of home appliance maker Kelon, had falsified company accounts, but that his activities did not constitute crimes as they did not have a “serious negative social impact”. It upheld the other verdict that Mr Gu embezzled Rmb290m ($43.2m), but said the crime merited a jail sentence of only five years.
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