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China jails fugitive millionaire for 15 years

21 january 2012, 16:58
Chinese millionaire who fled the country to escape fraud charges. ©AFP
Chinese millionaire who fled the country to escape fraud charges. ©AFP
A Chinese millionaire who fled the country in 2004 to escape fraud charges was sentenced to 15 years in jail on Friday, AFP reports citing his lawyer.

Zeng Hanlin, 66, spent seven years in Canada, but was deported in March after authorities there dismissed concerns he would be tortured or executed if he returned to China.

He was tried and convicted of fraud in November over a stock scheme linked to a failed business merger.

Zeng's lawyer Yang Zhaodong told AFP his client now had 10 days to lodge an appeal after a court in the southwestern city of Chengdu sentenced him to 15 years in prison.

"Zeng was thinking of an appeal, but hasn't made the final decision," Yang said.

Canada, which does not use capital punishment, bans the return of prisoners to countries where they might be put to death.

Last year, Canada deported alleged Chinese smuggling kingpin Lai Changxing after a 12-year legal battle when Beijing issued an unusual promise not to execute him if he was found guilty.

Zeng's son, Sam Zeng, said his father was "100 percent innocent", calling his trial a "fraud", and pledged to raise the issue during Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to Beijing next month.

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