Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua, who disappeared in Hong Kong five years ago, was due to go on trial in China on Monday, the Canadian embassy in Beijing said.

Chinese-born Xiao, known for having ties to China’s Communist Party elite, has not been seen in public since 2017 after he was investigated amid a campaign against a state-led conglomerate. Details of the investigation have not been released by officials.

Xiao was wheeled out of a Hong Kong luxury hotel at dawn with his head covered, a source close to the tycoon told Reuters at the time.

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“Global Affairs Canada, our head office, is aware that a trial will take place today in the case of Canadian citizen Mr. Xiao Jianhua,” a Canadian embassy official told Reuters by telephone in a statement read from Ottawa. .

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“Canadian consular officials are closely monitoring this case, providing consular services to his family and continuing to push for consular access.”

Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said Monday that he was unaware of the situation when asked about Xiao’s trial at a news conference.

Xiao was ranked 32nd on the 2016 Hurun China Rich List, the Chinese equivalent of the Forbes list, with an estimated net worth of $5.97 billion at the time.


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At the center of Xiao’s empire is the financial group Tomorrow Holdings Co.

In July 2020, Chinese regulators seized nine of the group’s related institutions as part of a campaign against the risks posed by financial conglomerates.

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In 2021, regulators extended the one-year takeover period of the nine financial firms for another year to “further promote de-risking work and defuse financial risks.”

The extended custody will end on July 16.

The seizures were preceded by a 2019 takeover of Baoshang Bank, a lender once controlled by Tomorrow, by regulators, citing serious credit risks.

The lender, which had operated across the country, has morphed into a much smaller lender in its home region, Inner Mongolia, in northern China.


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In recent years, a number of executives from large Chinese companies have come under investigation or prosecution amid a broader crackdown on corruption spearheaded by President Xi Jinping that has also ensnared politicians and bankers.

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Among those who have fallen from grace is Jiang Jiemin, the former head of China National Petroleum Corp CNPET.UL, who was sentenced to 16 years for bribery and abuse of power in 2015.

In 2017, Ai Baojun, former chairman of Baoshan Iron and Steel 600019.SS who became deputy mayor of Shanghai, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for bribery and corruption.

(Reporting by Martin Quin Pollard in Beijing and Meg Shen in Hong Kong; Writing by Ryan Woo; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)


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