Ex-chief of Chinese insurer Anbang jailed for 18 years

Ex-chief of Chinese insurer Anbang jailed for 18 years

Ex-chief of Chinese insurer Anbang jailed for 18 years

The former head of China's embattled insurance and financial giant Anbang has been jailed for 18 years for corruption and fraud.

Wu, 51, has also been deprived of his political rights for four years, while the court has confiscated properties worth 10.5 billion yuan ($1.65 billion).

During his one-day trial in March, the court revealed that the funds were transferred to companies Wu controlled for investment overseas, to pay down debts, or "personally squandered".

He was detained past year and regulators seized control of Anbang in February.

Anbang started as a vehicle insurance company in 2004 and has since become one of the biggest insurers in China.

The court found that over six years, Wu had "instructed others to adopt fraudulent financial statements, disclose false information, falsely increase capital, falsified solvency, made false report or concealed premium incomes, and defrauded the regulatory agencies and the public".

Anbang gained global recognition in 2014 with the purchase of New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel, and went on to snap up marquee assets around the world before landing in the cross hairs of the Chinese regulators past year.

A view of the headquarters of Anbang Insurance Group in Beijing, China, on February 23, 2018.

Xinhua said Wu used more than 100 companies under his control to manage funds, and authorities later recovered bank savings, real estate and other assets.

Wu Xiaohui was first held by police in June 2017.

Anbang is known internationally for its global acquisition spree, kicked off with the Waldorf Astoria deal.

Wu had links to USA presidential adviser Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Donald Trump, and reportedly met with Wu in November 2016, shortly after Trump won the election.

Speculation is rife over possible sales of Anbang's assets, which, in addition to the Waldorf Astoria New York hotel - purchased for nearly $2 billion - include Dutch insurer Vivat NV, the San Francisco Westin St. Francis, and hotels, real estate and insurance holdings in Canada, Belgium and South Korea.

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