Former ZTE labor union chief faces 20 years in jail
He Xuemei, the former chairman of ZTE's labor union, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Guangdong Higher People's Court upheld a ruling by a lower court that He should get a custodial sentence. She was previously found guilty of illegally fundraising $385 million, as well as misappropriation and embezzlement, over a two-year period between 2015 and 2017.
According to various press reports, including China's TMT Post, He, under the guise of providing financial management services, apparently tricked via social media as many as 9,000 people – including some high-level ZTE officials – into purchasing high-risk trust wealth management products.
She also used some of the money to invest in real estate, buy stocks as well as repay personal debts. Jewelry was mentioned in one report.
The former ZTE labor union chief was also found guilty of embezzling RMB 390 million (US$60 million) from a company affiliated with the union, and snaffling RMB 3.1 million ($480,000) directly from ZTE.
Aside from 20 years in jail, authorities confiscated He's personal property worth some RMB 20 million ($3.1 million).
Prosecutors filed a case to investigate He in July 2017, along with three other suspects, after accounting irregularities came to light.
The same day the investigation was announced, He reportedly tried to commit suicide by overdosing on sleeping tablets, but emergency services were quick on the scene.
Some press reports said she admitted her guilt to the police after being discharged from hospital.
Prior to her fall from grace, He was highly active on social media, with as many as 300,000 followers on China's microblogging service Weibo. She had also appeared in media interviews for her philanthropy as a former secretary general of ZTE Foundation, the company's charity fund.
- Fast-growing ZTE, free to buy US tech, is a nightmare for Biden
- ZTE cruises to ¥4B profit on China growth
- China 5G powers ZTE to strong result
— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading