Five employees of two companies linked to fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui pleaded guilty and confessed to misappropriate behavior or duty encroachment on Friday in a district court in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province.
Qu Long, a former executive of the Tianjin Huatai Holding Group Ltd, and Zhao Yun'an, then chairman of the company, were accused of misusing corporate funds.
At the same time, three former employees or senior managers of Guo's Beijing Pangu Investment Company, Gao Song, Ma Nan and Cheng Xiuhua, were accused of duty encroachment.
The trial began at 8:30 am Friday at the People's Court of Xigang district of Dalian when it was broadcast with pictures and text on the court's Sina Weibo account.
The People's Procuratorate of Xigang district, Dalian said in 2008, that to get Zhao out of jail, Zhao's wife approached Guo Wengui through an intermediary to bail out Zhao. Guo had asked for a 100 million yuan ($15 million) loan if Zhao was bailed out.
In June 2008, Zhao proposed that Huatai's assets be transferred to Guo so that Guo could take control of Huatai.
In July 2008, without calling a board meeting, Guo ordered Qu to transfer more than 400 million yuan from Huatai's account to companies controlled by Guo or for Guo's personal use.
Qu admitted in the trial that he has helped in the transfer under Guo's instructions.
"Out of desperation, I helped Qu transfer Huatai to Guo," Zhao said.
To keep the 400 million yuan, Guo persuaded Gao, Ma and Cheng in 2012 to forge a series of agreements and memorandums and to file a false civil case, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
Guo transferred liabilities worth more than 400 million yuan to the Zhengzhou Haohang Company in Central China's Henan Province, which was incapable of repaying it, so that he could illegally pocket the money, according to Xinhua.
Cheng admitted during the trial that she had fabricated the documents.
"The eventual aim is to allow Guo to use the 400 million yuan without having to return it," Cheng said, "and as an employee, I did it based on the company's instructions."
None of the five defendants and their defenders brought denied the procuratorate's charges.
They said they merely obeyed Guo's instructions.
The five defendants all pleaded guilty after the trial and admitted participating in the crime.
"I had stable work and a happy family... but now because of Guo, I stand here for the second time as a defendant," Qu said.
In 2012, Qu was sentenced to 15 years for misappropriation in North China's Hebei Province, China Business News quoted multiple sources as saying.
Around 40 people, including the families of the defendants, legislators, political advisers, media and the public attended the hearing.
The court adjourned before noon. The verdict will be announced at a later date.
Guo fled China under suspicion of multiple crimes in August 2014. He is in the Interpol's "red notice" list for wanted fugitives, Xinhua reported.
Two employees of Henan Yuda Real Estate Company on August 4 were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 18 months to two years, while another employee was acquitted, according to the Kaifeng City Intermediate People's Court, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Also in Dalian, executives who served under Guo confessed on June 9 in court to fabricating contracts and other financial documents on Guo's orders. The executives included Yang Ying, a former financial officer at Beijing Pangu Investment, Lü Tao, former deputy general manager of Pangu Investment, and Xie Honglin, another former financial officer at Pangu.