China's top court acquits former retail tycoon

Xinhua
Zhang Wenzhong, former chairman of retail company Wumei Holdings, was acquitted of fraud, bribery and embezzlement charges after a retrial by the Supreme People's Court.
Xinhua

Zhang Wenzhong, former chairman of retail company Wumei Holdings, was acquitted of fraud, bribery and embezzlement charges on Thursday after a retrial by the Supreme People's Court.

The SPC ruling also acquitted Zhang Weichun and Wumei Holdings — two other defendants in the case — of charges of fraud and giving bribes, respectively.

Zhang Wenzhong, Zhang Weichun and the retail company were prosecuted in 2007 by the Municipal People's Procuratorate of Hengshui in north China's Hebei Province.

After the defendants were given sentences and fined according to a ruling by the Intermediate People's Court of Hengshui in 2008, they petitioned Hebei Higher People's Court.

Zhang Wenzhong was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined 500,000 yuan (US$78,000) for previous charges in a final ruling by Hebei Higher People's Court in 2009.

He petitioned the SPC in October 2016 and the SPC decided to retry the case in December 2017.

The SPC ruling identifies faults in ascertaining facts and applying laws in the previous instances, stating such errors must be rectified in accordance with the law.

The court said national compensation procedures and the retrieval of fines and property will be launched in accordance with the law.

More than 80 people, including relatives of the defendants, representatives of employees of Wumei Holdings, legislators, political advisors, academics, representatives of relevant institutions, and members of the public were present for the verdict.

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