A court in Beijing Wednesday rejected appeals of executives of a Chinese online peer-to-peer (P2P) lender who were given jail terms for cheating the public out of large amounts of money.
In September, Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court ruled that Yucheng Global and Anhui Yucheng, operators of online P2P lender Ezubao, were guilty of fraudulent fundraising and smuggling precious metals, and ordered to pay fines of 1.8 billion yuan (273 million U.S. dollars) and 100 million yuan respectively.
The 26 company executives and staff, including Yucheng Chairman Ding Ning and his younger brother Ding Dian, were convicted of stealing public deposits, smuggling precious metals, illegal possession of guns and border-crossing. They were given jail terms ranging from three years to life imprisonment. They were also deprived of political rights and issued fines.
The two companies accepted the verdict, while 23 defendants appealed to Beijing high people's court, which affirmed the original judgement in the final verdict.
Anhui Yucheng and Yucheng Global raised a huge amount of funds by faking high-yield investment products on two online P2P platforms, Ezubao and Sesame Financial, without a banking license, the court said.
The majority of the money was spent lavishly on luxury gifts and salaries and used to purchase sales firms and return principal and high interests to a number of investors.
The court said the defendants had inflicted huge losses on investors in many parts of China and disrupted the national financial management system, and thus should be given harsh penalties.