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Convicted tycoon asks court for help

By Jin Haixing  (China Daily)

08:12, July 08, 2013

The attorney of a former tycoon who filed a lawsuit against the government of an East China city for illegally confiscating her assets has urged the court to accept the case.
Wu Ying, once one of China's richest businesswomen, received a suspended death sentence in a high-profile illegal fundraising case. In her plea, Wu and her Bense Holding Group claimed that the Dongyang city government illegally asked local police to seal the assets of her company in 2007.

Lin Wencai, Wu's attorney, told China Daily on Sunday that Wu and her company filed the lawsuit against the Dongyang government on May 9, but so far the Intermediate People's Court of Jinhua has not accepted the case. "We hope the court takes the case," Lin said.

He said the court holds that the Bense Holding Group has grounds to sue the government, but the indictment requires the official seal of the company.

However, police in Dongyang, where Bense Group was located, confiscated the company's seal in 2007 and would not return it, the attorney said.

Wu was sentenced to death in 2009 for illegally raising 390 million yuan ($63.6 million) from investors between 2005 and 2007. The death penalty was controversial among legal professionals, as many questioned whether it should be applied to economic crimes.

The top court overturned the death sentence and gave her a suspended sentence last year.

According to legal procedures, only judicial organs have the authority to seal the assets of the accused, but the indictment of Wu said the Dongyang government illegally froze her assets and would not turn them over to prosecutors. So the assets could not be auctioned publicly, and Wu was unable to repay her debts to investors.

Wang Peng, a lawyer with Hanwei Law Firm in Beijing, said if the court refuses to accept the lawsuit, it is in accordance with law as the company has to provide legal documents.

Lin, on behalf of Wu, said he had asked police in Dongyang to return the seal to Bense Group, but police said that doing so would need approval from the local government.

According to Wu's father, the Dongyang government sealed 37,000 square meters of Bense Group properties as well as jewelry worth 127 million yuan. It also valued the company's assets at 170 million yuan, which Wu's father said was undervalued.

Wu Ying's condition was well and she was mostly concerned of the disposal of those seal assets, Lin said on Sunday, who met Wu last month.

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