Trial starts for China's once-richest man

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Beijing, Apr 23(ANI): Huang Guangyu, once China's richest man, has stood trial at the Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court facing charges of bribery, share price fixing and money laundering.

Guangyu, former chairman of Gome Electrical Appliances Holdings, was detained in November 2008 for suspected stock market manipulation.

The procuratorate have charged Guangyu with illegal foreign exchange trading via Hong Kong in 2007 and insider trading of Shenzhen-listed Zhongguancun stocks, and also accused him of offering bribes of 4.56 million yuan to a number of officials, the China Daily reports.

According to a previously released indictment, Guangyu channeled 800 million yuan to Hong Kong in 2007, where the money was exchanged by individuals rather than legitimate exchangers into 822 million Hong Kong dollars.

Legal experts said that if all the charges are proven, the 41-year-old businessman could be behind bars for 10 to 15 years.

Co-defendants in the case include his wife Lisa Du Juan, at least one business partner and unnamed others.

Guangyu is the highest profile, private business person ever charged in China, a man once dubbed as "the Sam Walton of China," after Walmart's founder.

He started in the home appliance business at the age of 17 and ranked top on Hurun's China Rich List from 2005 to 2008. In 2008, his assets reached 43 billion yuan. (ANI)

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