On November 30, 2007, Zhou Zhengyi was sentenced to 16 years in prison by the Shanghai People's Intermediate Court. Zhou was arrested again by Shanghai authorities on January 21, 2007, on charges of offering bribes and forging value-added tax invoices. He has also been charged with two other counts of bribery and embezzlement.
Zhou Zhengyi (born 1961) is a prominent businessman born and based in Shanghai, People's Republic of China. The flamboyant property developer is described as the 11th richest man in China, with personal assets totalling US$320 million.
Zhou owns an unlisted holding company in Hong Kong, called New Nongkai Global Investments, and 75% of a Hong Kong-listed investment company called Shanghai Land Holdings.
Zhou was detained in June 2003 and placed under investigation for illegally acquiring state land and bank loans. On June 1, 2004, he was sentenced to three years in prison for stock market fraud. This relatively light sentence has given rise to speculation that he is cooperating with authorities in other forensic accounting investigations, especially Chen Liangyu, and then-Shanghai Mayor Huang Ju.
Speculation on Zhou's arrest is centred upon high-level corruption in Shanghai, which may involve protégés of China's former president, Jiang Zemin. China's new leadership team of President Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao may have decided to make an example of Zhou in order to embarrass Jiang Zemin's associates.
On October 23, 2006, the Independent Commission Against Corruption of Hong Kong obtained approval from a Hong Kong court to arrest Zhou for allegedly providing false information to the city's stock market regulators in relation to his acquisition of a listed company in 2002. In January 2006, Zhou's wife, Sandy Mo Yuk-ping, was sentenced to 3 years' imprisonment in Hong Kong for manipulating the price of Shanghai Land shares with the aim of defrauding investors.
Originally Posted: China Business Daily
Author: Angulo Fu