Two Chinese executives get life in prison for $7.6 billion Ponzi scheme

Key Points
  • Two men tied to P2P lender Ezubao were sentenced to life and fined for fraud and other offences
  • Online lending platform was found to be a Ponzi scheme that raised over 50 billion Chinese yuan ($7.6 billion)
Investors in Chinese online peer-to-peer lender Ezubao protest in Beijing on February 4, 2016.
Greg Baker | AFP | Getty Images

A Beijing court sentenced two men who directed a large Ponzi scheme to life imprisonment, state news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

Peer-to-peer lender Ezubao shut down last year after raising more than 50 billion Chinese yuan ($7.6 billion) from about 900,000 investors, Xinhua reported last year.

By the time police made arrests, Ezubao had failed to repay 38 billion Chinese yuan ($5.8 billion), Reuters reported.

Among the 26 given sentences over the scam was Ding Ning, Ezubao's founder and chairman of the platform's holdings company Anhui Yucheng, who was sentenced to life in prison for fraud and crimes including precious metals smuggling and illegally possessing firearms. He was also fined 100 million Chinese yuan ($15.3 million).

Ding Dian, the brother of the chairman, was also sentenced to life and fined 70 million Chinese yuan ($10.7 million).

Twenty-four others involved in the scam were jailed for three to 15 years.

The ruling comes as the Chinese government is cracking down on risky and illegal financial practices in the country.