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King of the Road gets eight years' jail

LIU Genshan, Shanghai's "King of the Road," was sentenced to eight years' prison yesterday in Hangzhou for withdrawing 150 million yuan (US$21.7 million) in registered capital and embezzling 190 million yuan, Oriental Morning Post reported today.

Hangzhou Shangcheng District People's Court announced that Liu, the former chairman of Shanghai Maosheng Development Group, got three years' prison for withdrawing the registered capital and six years for embezzling, which was reduced to a combined eight years behind bars, while the group was fined 15 million.

Yuan Xiaojun, the financial director of Shanghai Huqingping Expressway Development Co, was sentenced to five years' prison, and Hu Changli, the financial director of Shaoxing Yongjin Expressway Development Co, got one year with a two-year reprieve.

After hearing the verdict, Liu was escorted out of the court by two policemen while his 30-year-old wife shouted: "I will wait for your return."

Then the woman signed the verdict documents.

Liu, 52, chairman of a Hong Kong-listed company and the 36th richest people on China's mainland, according to Rupert Hoogewerf's 2004 list of the top 100, once funded seven highways in Shanghai and Zhejiang and was nicknamed "King of the Road."

Zhejiang prosecutors ratified the arrest of Liu on July 11, 2008, after finding he withdrew 150 million yuan in registered capital from the Yongjin highway project in Zhejiang, causing losses of 14 million yuan in interest.

Cai Jidong, former director of the Shaoxing Communications Bureau, was jailed three-and-a-half years for misuse of authority and taking bribes from Liu Genshan in May.

Cai was hired by Liu with 1 million yuan salary once he left the bureau, which lead to the investigation.

Zhang Laixing, the bureau's former deputy director, and Feng Shunqiao, former secretary of the Zhejiang Province People's Government and Party Secretary of the Shaoxing People's Government, were also investigated by Zhejiang prosecutors for their roles in the case.

It's not known whether Liu will appeal.


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