China turns up legal pressure on exiled tycoon Guo - Xinhua

China turns up legal pressure on exiled tycoon Guo - Xinhua

SHANGHAI/BEIJING: Chinese prosecutors have filed new lawsuits against employees of firms connected to fugitive Guo Wengui, the official Xinhua news agency said on Saturday, as Beijing turns up the pressure on the tycoon at the centre of a feud with the ruling Communist Party.

Chinese-born Guo, now based in New York, has unleashed a deluge of corruption allegations against high-level Communist Party officials and is facing multiple lawsuits in a number of different jurisdictions.

Prosecutors in the northern city of Dalian on Friday filed a lawsuit against some staff of Beijing Pangu Investment on suspicion of misappropriation of funds, Xinhua said citing judicial sources.

Guo is accused of misappropriating 400 million yuan, while staff at Beijing Pangu Investment are alleged to have assisted the act by forging documents, said Xinhua.

On the same day in Kaifeng City in Henan province, prosecutors filed a suit against Guo-controlled Henan Yuda Real Estate company and its employees on allegations of loan fraud and bill acceptance, Xinhua added.

In this case, Guo together with senior staff in Henan Yuda is alleged to have fraudulently obtained loans and bill acceptance totalling 1.5 billion yuan from seven banks by setting up shell companies and fabricating contracts and projects, according to Xinhua.

Guo did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters. However, he has previously said the main purpose of legal cases against him was to paint him as a criminal, bolstering an Interpol global "red notice" for his arrest, issued at Beijing's request in April.

The move comes after the Dalian Xigang People's Court in China's northeastern Liaoning province on Friday handed down prison sentences on three employees, Lu Tao, Xie Honglin and Yang Ying, who were first detained in early 2015.

Xie and Yang's sentences were wholly suspended.

Guo has disputed the facts of the Dalian case.

In a live-streamed online interview with U.S.-based Chinese-language political gossip site Mingjing News on Friday night, which lasted more than four hours, the Chinese-born businessman said the legal cases were designed to silence him.

In New York, he faces defamation lawsuits from aviation-to-financial services conglomerate HNA Group, property developer SOHO China, and prominent journalist Hu Shuli.

(Reporting by Philip Wen in Beijing and Engen Tham in Shanghai; Editing by Sam Holmes and Stephen Powell)

Source: Reuters