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Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua set to go on trial in China

Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua, who went missing in Hong Kong five years ago, was due to go on trial in China on Monday, the Canadian embassy in Beijing said.

China-born Xiao, known to have links to China’s Communist Party elite, has not been seen in public since 2017 after he was investigated amid a state-led conglomerate crackdown. The specifics of the probe haven’t been disclosed by officials.

Xiao was whisked away in a wheelchair from a luxury Hong Kong hotel in the early hours with his head covered, a source close to the tycoon told Reuters at the time.

Read more: Where is Xiao Jianhua? Officials mum on abduction of Canadian-Chinese tycoon in 2017

“Global Affairs Canada, our home office, is aware that a trial in the case of Canadian citizen Mr. Xiao Jianhua will take place today,” a Canadian Embassy official told Reuters over the phone in a readout of a statement from Ottawa.

“Canadian consular officials are monitoring this case closely, providing consular services to his family and continue to press for consular access.”

Zhao Lijian, a spokesman at the Chinese foreign ministry, said on Monday that he was not aware of the situation, when asked about Xiao’s trial at a media briefing.

Xiao was ranked 32nd on the 2016 Hurun China rich list, China’s equivalent of the Forbes list, with an estimated net worth of $5.97 billion at the time.

At the center of Xiao’s empire is the financial group Tomorrow Holdings Co.

In July 2020, nine of the group’s related institutions were seized by Chinese regulators as part of a crackdown on risks posed by financial conglomerates.

Read more: Over $154M tied to detained Chinese-Canadian oligarch invested in GTA real estate

In 2021, regulators extended the one-year

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