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China slaps record fine, jail term on hedge fund trader amid crackdown on ‘financial crocs’

China slaps record fine, jail term on hedge fund trader amid crackdown on ‘financial crocs’

BEIJING: China’s courts have slapped a record fine and imposed a jail term on the country’s so-called hedge fund king after finding him guilty of insider trading and market manipulation, amid a state-directed campaign to crack down on financial malfeasance and bring “financial crocs” to justice.

Xu Xiang , whose Shanghai Zexi Investment fund had as much as 20 billion yuan of assets under management, was fined 11 billion yuan, according to a report on Sohu Finance, a news aggregator, citing information from a court in Qingdao, Shandong province. The fine is the largest ever imposed in China for a financial misdemeanour. Xu, 39, was also sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail and had 9.3 billion yuan of “ill-gotten” assets amassed by him and two associates confiscated by the state, the news portal said. Xu could not be reached for comment. The report said Xu would not appeal against the sentence.

Chinese regulators and prosecutors are tightening the screws on traders and corporate raiders who are perceived to have taken advantage of regulatory gaps to enrich themselves, particularly during the 2015 equity market crash that wiped out trillions of yuan of wealth.