Billionaire Property Tycoon Convicted of Child Molestation
What’s New: Wang Zhenhua, the billionaire founder of Chinese real estate developer Seazen Group Ltd., was sentenced to five years in jail for child molestation, the maximum prison term for the crime under Chinese law.
A court in Shanghai found 58-year-old Wang guilty of sex abuse of a 9-year-old girl Wednesday after two days of closed-door hearings. A woman identified as Zhou Yanfen was sentenced to four years in jail for bringing the girl to Wang.
Wang was detained in Shanghai in July 2019. Police said Wang molested a girl at a local five-star hotel. News of Wang’s detention triggered nationwide outrage and sent stocks of companies linked to Wang crashing.
More to know: Seazen, formerly known as Future Land Holdings Co. Ltd., is China’s eighth-biggest developer by sales. The company has been distancing itself from Wang since the incident and replaced Wang as chairman with his son. Wang remains the controlling shareholder of Seazen.
Seazen and affiliated companies suffered massive sell-offs after Wang’s detention, wiping out billions of dollars of market value. The company sold a slew of projects last year to protect cash flow. Following the sentencing, Hong Kong-listed Seazen and subsidiaries recorded share price gains.
Wang and his son rank 33rd on the Hurun Global Real Estate Rich List 2020 with net worth of 43 billion yuan ($6 billion).
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