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November 5, 2009

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Tycoon gets 14 years in jail

ZHOU Xiaodi, a former Shanghai real estate magnate, was handed a 14-year prison term yesterday for orchestrating the beating of a business partner and selling land use rights he didn't own.

He was also ordered to pay a 300 million yuan (US$44 million) fine.

In addition, the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court sentenced his eight accomplices to jail terms ranging from two to nine years.

The court gave the 53-year-old Zhou, former board chairman of Shanghai Zhou Group Co, nine years for assault and six years for illegal trading in land use rights. But the judges fixed the total term at 14 years.

The legal troubles for Zhou, who also controlled Shanghai New Century Yide Real Estate Co, began when he co-invested in a residential project in Pudong with Shanghai Xizi Real Estate Co. Zhou and Yin Minghua, a manager of Xizi, got into a dispute over plans for the land's development, the court said.

Zhou and Xu Jiangang, Yide's general manager, then became angry when Yin didn't invite them to the opening ceremony for a Yide community project in August 2007.

Zhou instructed his driver Li Guangkui to teach Yin a lesson.

Li asked Yao Wei, 40, a construction company owner, to round up some people to beat up Yin. Yao gave the job to five migrant workers, and Yin ended up with a fractured skull and broken limb bones.

The other charge related to a deal Zhou signed with a city real estate company in April 2001 to buy the use rights for a 169-hectare plot in Pudong's Sanlin for 634 million yuan. But Zhou never paid the entire amount and failed to finalize the deal. Even so, he convinced other companies he did own the land rights and received 2 billion yuan in illegal income from their participation in projects Zhou promoted, the court said.


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