China court rejects appeal from Anbang's jailed ex-boss Wu Xiaohui

People enter the office of Anbang Insurance Group in Beijing, China, February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese court has rejected an appeal by Anbang Insurance Group Co Ltd’s [ANBANG.UL] former chairman, Wu Xiaohui, against a conviction for fundraising fraud and embezzlement that led to an 18-year jail sentence and confiscation of 10.5 billion yuan ($1.52 billion).

“The evidence was solid and sufficient. The conviction was accurate. The sentencing was appropriate,” the Shanghai High People’s Court said in a statement posted online on Thursday.

Wu led the insurer as it became one of China’s most aggressive dealmakers with a series of major overseas acquisitions. He was put on trial in late March, charged with illegally raising 65.2 billion yuan and embezzling 10 billion yuan.

Wu initially contested the charges but said in his closing statement that he understood and regretted them and requested leniency. He was found guilty and sentenced in May, and immediately lodged an appeal - a rarity in high-profile cases.

Authorities seized control of Anbang and announced the prosecution of Wu on Feb. 23. The takeover is scheduled to last one year, during which Anbang will be managed by officials from financial regulators and government bodies.

Reporting by Shu Zhang and Engen Tham; Editing by Christopher Cushing