[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at smu.edu
Sat Apr 21 10:25:28 CDT 2012
Ex-tycoon sidesteps sentence of death
Move seen as change in China's attitude toward private lending
The Supreme People's Court on Friday rejected the death sentence for
millionaire Wu Ying, in what experts described as a possible turnaround in the
Chinese justice system's attitude toward private fundraising.
While upholding the conviction and the legitimacy of previous judicial
proceedings, the top court declined to approve the sentence and referred the
case back to the high court of Zhejiang province.
"Finally I can breathe," said Wu Yongzheng, Wu's father. "But it's still not
time to totally relax since it's not the final verdict."
Wu, once considered one of the richest women in China, was sentenced to death
in 2009 by the local court in Jinhua, Zhejiang province, for illegally
fundraising 770 million yuan ($122 million), more than half of which she lost
in failed investments.
Wu's case attracted widespread attention because it showed the inadequacy of
the nation's financial system to support small and medium-sized enterprises,
which left room for fundraising initiatives by private individuals.
Zhang Yanfeng, one of Wu's lawyers, said she did not swindle funds from the
public, but raised money from friends and did not use it for illegal purposes
or personal indulgence.
Wu was involved in what is known as shadow banking - financial transactions
outside regulated institutions in which money is raised privately, often with
promises of high returns.
Such extralegal activities have flourished as large State banks have tightened
the reins on lending to small firms.
China's law stipulates that such financial initiatives are punishable by death
when the money involved is "especially huge", as it was in Wu's case.
Wu was born into a farming family in Zhejiang province. She dropped out of a
technical school as a teenager, worked at her aunt's beauty salon and later
opened 2 of her own.
She then opened a foot massage parlor and bought 10 cars, which she rented out.
An entertainment center and a boutique featuring Korean clothes followed, as
did investments in real estate and copper futures.
In 2007 she was arrested in a Beijing airport during a business trip and later
charged with illegal fundraising.
According to the court, Wu could not return 380 million yuan, and large amounts
of other debts were unpaid.
The flourishing of shadow banking is partly a result of a two-year credit
squeeze to rein in rising inflation and cool down a bullish property market.
It is especially rampant in Wenzhou, and many entrepreneurs have fled the city
after being unable or unwilling to pay back money borrowed from underground
banks, threatening the country's financial stability.
Accounting and consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu estimated China's
shadow banking system was worth 11.5 trillion yuan, one-fifth the size of the
country's official loan market.
But experts believe things are about to change after the developments in Wu's
case and after a pilot project was approved by the central government in
Wenzhou allowing private lenders to register as private institutions that can
operate with the blessing of the State.
Liu Renwen, a scholar on criminal law from the Chinese Academy of Social
Sciences, said the top court's review of Wu's case could serve as a legal
precedent for other cases of illegal fundraising, at least in reducing the use
of death sentences in such cases.
"The court's decision marks a turnaround for the nation's underground lending,"
said Yao Minglong, a professor with Zhejiang University school of management.
He believes the country will start making new financial rules to help shadow
banking come out of the shadows.
Earlier this month, Premier Wen Jiabao declared that the State-owned banks'
monopoly must be broken, and hinted that the reforms in Wenzhou would be
expanded nationally if successful.
(source: China Daily)
Saudi Arabia beheaded, crucified Sudanese man convicted of raping, robbing and
killing a woman
Saudi Arabia beheaded and crucified a Sudanese man in Riyadh on Friday after he
was convicted of raping, robbing and killing a woman, the interior ministry
Abdulrahman Zine Elabidine "broke into a house strangling its owner to death
while she was asleep."
He also raped her and stole 165,000 riyals ($44,000/33,000 euros) as well as
gold jewellery, said the statement carried by state news agency SPA.
He then set the house on fire.
His beheading took to 20 the total number of executions in the conservative
kingdom so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on official reports.
Under the AFP count, at least 76 people were beheaded in 2011, while rights
group Amnesty International put the number of executions last year at 79.
The death penalty in Saudi Arabia applies strict Sharia (Islamic) law for a
wide range of offences including rape, apostasy, armed robbery and drug
trafficking, as well as murder.
(source: Agence France-Presse)
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