The founder and former head of the sprawling Chinese insurance group that owns New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel is appealing his sentence of 18 years in prison for fraud.
A lawyer for Wu Xiaohui told The Associated Press on Wednesday that his client would seek to have the charges against him dismissed.
Lawyer Chen Youxi said the charges were not supported by evidence, but declined to provide further information.
Prior to Wu’s sentencing earlier this month, his Anbang Insurance Group acquired a vast range of global assets and discussed possibly investing in a Manhattan skyscraper owned by the family of U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner. Those talks ended last year with no deal.
The Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court said Wu pleaded guilty at trial to fraudulently raising billions of dollars from investors.
The court also ordered the confiscation of 10.5 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) in assets from Wu, who founded privately-owned Anbang in 2004.
Wu was accused of misleading investors and diverting money for his own use. He was detained last year and regulators seized control of Anbang in February. He was shown on state TV in March admitting guilt.
Wu initially had denied his guilt at his one-day trial, according to a court statement.
Court documents quoted by state media said Wu concealed his ownership of shares in companies controlled by Anbang, filed false statements with financial authorities and lured investors by offering a rate of return above that offered elsewhere. Much of the business relied on selling insurance products to raise investment capital.
They said he used more than 100 companies under his control to manage funds and used his position to misappropriate 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) in Anbang’s deposits.
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