BEIJING Aug 11 A court in Shanghai in eastern
China has sentenced Wang Zongnan, former chairman of state-owned
Bright Food Group Co., to 18 years in jail for
embezzlement and bribery, the official Xinhua News Agency
reported on Tuesday.
While Wang led state-owned companies Shanghai Friendship
Group Co and Lianhua Supermarket Holdings Co Ltd from
2001 to 2006, he embezzled more than 195 million yuan ($30.84
million) to set up companies to invest in properties for
personal gain, Xinhua said in its report on the court
proceedings. Wang illegally earned more than 1.2 million yuan,
it also said.
The court also found Wang accepted more than 2.69 million
yuan in bribes, Xinhua said in its report.
Wang, who was officially charged last August, was one of
China's most high profile state executives. At Bright Food, Wang
helped put the government-owned group on the global map with
several acquisitions, including the 2012 acquisition of a
majority stake in British cereal maker Weetabix.
Wang's case is an example of the Chinese government's
crackdown on corruption.
In addition to sentencing Wang to 18 years in prison, the
court also seized 1 million yuan in personal assets and ordered
Wang to return more than 12 million yuan in illegal income.
Wang could not be reached for comment. Shanghai Bright,
Shanghai Friendship, now Shanghai Bailian Group, and Lianhua
Supermarket did not respond to telephone calls requesting
Xinhua's report on the court proceedings said Fosun Group, a
subsidiary of Chinese investment company Fosun International Ltd
, was named by the court. In 2003, Wang's parents
bought two villas in Shanghai developed by Fosun at below market
prices, Xinhua's report said.
The villas, which were purchased for 2.08 million yuan in
total, were sold for 14.8 million yuan several years later,
The court also found Wang used his position to seek benefits
for Fosun Group after Friendship Group set up a joint entity
with Shanghai Fosun High Technology (Group) Co, a
Fosun subsidiary, Xinhua said in its report on the court
In an emailed statement on Tuesday, Fosun said it "never
sought to inappropriately benefit from cooperation with
Friendship Group and never delivered benefits to Wang Zongnan."
Fosun also said it believed the sale price of the villas was
($1 = 6.1864 Chinese yuan)
($1 = 6.3232 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting By Shu Zhang and Matthew Miller. Editing by Jane