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Top court to retry former tycoons’ cases

Writer:   | Editor: Lily A  | From:  | Updated: 2017-12-29

CHINA’S Supreme People’s Court (SPC) on Thursday announced a retrial in the criminal cases of Gu Chujun and Zhang Wenzhong, respectively former chairmen of an electrical appliances maker and a retailer.

The top court announced the retrial in three “major property right-related cases,” among which the cases of Gu, former chairman of refrigerator maker Guangdong Kelon Electrical Holdings, and Zhang, former chairman of Wumei Holdings, parent of Chinese retail chain Wumart Stores, will be heard by the top court or its circuit court.

Gu was arrested in 2005. A final court ruling by Guangdong Higher People’s Court in 2009 sentenced Gu to 10 years in prison for falsifying and withholding information and embezzlement. He was also fined 6.8 million yuan (US$1.03 million).

In September, 2012, after serving his term in prison, Gu filed a petition to the SPC.

The SPC sent his case to the Guangdong Higher People’s Court for investigation in 2013. During the investigation, Gu continued to petition the top court.

The SPC said in a statement Thursday that it reviewed Gu’s case and believed that the case was eligible for a retrial according to China’s criminal procedure law.

In a separate case, Zhang was fined and sentenced to 12 years in prison for fraud, embezzlement and a bribery-related crime in a final ruling by Hebei Higher People’s Court in 2009. Another defendant in the case, Zhang Weichun, was fined and sentenced to 5 years in prison for fraud. Wumei Holdings was also fined for bribery.

Zhang Wenzhong first petitioned Hebei Higher People’s Court but was rejected. He petitioned the SPC in 2016, which after reviewing the case decided to grant a retrial, the SPC statement said.

According to the statement, Zhang’s case will be heard by the SPC, and Gu’s will be handled by the SPC first circuit court.

Zhang and Gu’s cases were granted a retrial under article 242 of China’s Criminal Procedure Law, which states that retrial may be granted if the original ruling was based on insufficient, illegal or contradictory evidence, or that the application of law was inappropriate.

The SPC said it would form collegiate benches in the two cases, pledging fair and just trials with an attitude “responsible for the law, the people and the history.”

In a third case, which involves an equity transfer dispute, the Jiangsu Higher People’s Court has decided to revoke previous court rulings on the basis of unclear facts and has designated the Nanjing Intermediate People’s Court to retry the case.(Xinhua)