May 23, 2014 - 09:59 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Former mining tycoon Liu Han and his brother have been sentenced to death. Both men have been found guilty of "mafia-style crime" and murder by a provincial court in Hubei, according to CNN.
The two are among 36 people found guilty of similar crimes, including organized crime and homicide and given sentences ranging from the death penalty to long prison terms and fines.
Liu Han is former board chairman of the Sichuan Hanlong Group, the largest private enterprise in the southwest Chinese province of Sichuan, with interests including mining, real estate, electricity, energy and finance. The 48-year-old also holds major stake in a number of Australian companies. Official Chinese news sources estimate his wealth, which was seized when he was arrested, as being in the "tens of billions of yuan," or billions of U.S. dollars.
His case is one of the most high-profile against a private businessman since Chinese president Xi Jinping launched a crackdown on corruption when he came into power last year.
The Liu brothers reportedly started out running gambling centers in their base in Guanghan, China's southern Sichuan Province, in the early 1990s, gathering around them "a gang of local thugs and vagrants."
Liu Han also developed a reputation as a philanthropist, building a rural school campus following a 2008 earthquake that devastated Sichuan Province. His brother also had a reputation for charity, and had been a torch-bearer in the build-up to the Beijing Olympics, also in 2008, according to the state-run news agency Xinhua.