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Law professors join jailed tycoon's appeal

FOUR law professors, seven agricultural experts and entrepreneurs have joined an appeal against the life sentence being served by tycoon Guo Jianxin, who was China's richest man 10 years ago.

Guo's lawyer has submitted the appeal to Beijing's Higher People's Court, today's Shanghai Morning Post reported.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2002 after being convicted of contractual fraud for borrowing 30 million yuan (US$4.39 million) from Beijing Fuzhou Real Estate Co to finance soil reclamation projects after his Australian partner went bankrupt.

Guo's sentence has been cut to 18 years with good behavior, but his wife Shi Dongmei encouraged him to continue the appeal, insisting he is innocent, the report said.

Guo was ranked China's richest man in 1989 by Forbes with around 10 billion yuan (US$1.46 billion). He bought a Russian patent to improve soil productivity and founded the Heilongjiang Modern Agricultural Co in 1996.

His technology has transformed unproductive farmland into soil capable of producing lush crops across more than 10 provinces.

A document signed by four senior law professionals argued the fraud charge is baseless because Guo had returned all the loan's capital and interest.


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