Former Gome boss may go on trial in few weeks

08:54, February 21, 2010      

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Huang Guangyu, the former chairman of Gome who was once the country's richest man, is expected to go on trial at Beijing No.2 Intermediate People's Court within a month, according to the China Times, a Beijing weekly.

Fifteen months after he was taken into custody, the self-made millionaire was formally indicted on February 12 on charges of insider trading, illegal business dealings and bribery, according to the Beijing Daily.

The China Times quoted a source saying that due to its complexity, the trial is likely to stretch out over a year.

The report also said that if Huang is accused of offering bribes on behalf of Gome, the penalty might be less than the 16 years that some experts predicted.

The source also said evidence for insider trading and bribery are backed up with evidence, although it is still unknown if the same goes for the charge of illegal business dealings.

Calls made by the Global Times to Huang's defense lawyer Yang Zhaodong went unanswered Saturday.

Police detained the 40-year-old dropout, who was ranked by Forbes Asia in 2008 as China's second richest man, in November 2008.

He resigned from the company two months later.

Huang was also ranked by the Shanghai-based Hurun Rich list as China's wealthiest man with a fortune of $6.3 billion in 2008.

Several Party and government officials including Shenzhen mayor Xu Zongheng, assistant minister of public security and the economic criminal investigation bureau director Zheng Shaodong, the bureau's deputy director Xiang Huaizhu, chairman of the Guangdong Provincial committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Chen Shaoji, and Wang Huayuan, former Party secretary for the Guangdong Disciplinary Committee, were investigated in connection with Huang's case.

Beijing police arrested Huang Junqin, the elder brother of Huang Guangyu, in November. He faces unspecified charges of insider trading, contract fraud, illegal loan making and bigamy.

It's still unclear whether Huang's wife, Du Juan, faces any legal trouble.

Gome experienced a seven-month suspension in trading of its stock and a severe drop in sales last year.

Gome closed 110 stores in 2009 and has been actively preparing for a business transformation and strengthening its corporate management in order to create more transparency.

By Yin Hang

Source: Global Times
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