A Chinese court has commuted the death sentence on convicted businesswoman Wu Ying to life imprisonment, state media reported.
The decision was made at an open trial held Friday in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, Xinhua news agency said.
Wu plans to continue to appeal her sentence through the normal legal channels. Currently, she still has several other civil and administration appeals ongoing but with no progress, Sina portal noted.
Wu’s father, Wu Yongzheng, had been petitioning the Zhejiang Provincial High People’s Court, urging it to quash the earlier decision as he pleaded his daughter’s innocence, the report said.
Wu, who built a business empire, was initially sentenced to death in 2009 for illegal fund-raising. She was arrested in 2007 and found guilty of cheating private investors out of 380 million yuan.
Her sentence was then reduced to death with a two-year reprieve following a retrial in May 2012. She was convicted of financial fraud and bribery after illegally raising 770 million yuan (US$122 million) through informal lending operations between 2005 and 2007.
As the reprieve period was expiring, Wu, who was lodged at the Zhejiang Provincial Women’s Prison in Hangzhou, applied for fresh trial and hoped for a further change in her penalty.
She has been writing a second book entitled “Once Heartbroken” during her time in jail, and asked her father to help with the promotion preparations.
“That could help alleviate some pressure and also accumulate wealth for my future,” she was quoted as saying.
Wu’s case was widely viewed as a catalyst for the central government to pilot financial reform in Wenzhou in April 2012. Under the reform, the central government encouraged private companies to operate in the city to provide funding for small enterprises even as it continued to crack down on informal lenders and loan sharks.
Fromer premier Wen Jiabao said in March 2012 that he was deeply concerned about Wu’s case and made it one of the reasons for pressing ahead with financial reform.
– Contact us at [email protected]