Ferrari-loving billionaire executed in China for corruption
A Chinese billionaire famed for his love of casinos, cigars and luxury cars was executed yesterday in one of the most dramatic episodes yet in president Xi Jinping's war on corruption.
Liu Han (pictured), a 49-year-old mining tycoon once worth at least €5.2bn, was one of five alleged mafia kingpins to receive the death penalty after being convicted of offences including gun-running and murder. The part-time Godfather "tyrannised local people and seriously harmed the local economic and social order," Xinhua, China's official news agency, said in a brief dispatch announcing the execution. Prior to his death Liu was allowed a final "meeting" with his family, Xinhua added.
Liu Han made his money in construction and went on to become the chairman of the Hanlong Group, a mining firm with interests in Australia, Africa and the United States.
The tycoon was a vocal and extravagant regular in the business pages, boasting of his diamond watches and fleet of Bentleys, Ferraris and Rolls-Royces. In a 2010 interview with the 'Wall Street Journal', Liu bragged of plans to buy a billion tons of uranium. "Liu Han always wins. Liu Han never loses," said the billionaire, who was reportedly wearing a knee-length mink jacket.
Yet for all his business acumen, Liu's parallel life as an "evil gangster" proved his undoing. The disgraced billionaire was arrested in 2013 and sentenced to death last May, with a court in Hubei province declaring him head of "a cabal of ferocious gangsters". Xinhua said Liu was "a ruthless underworld kingpin" and claimed one of his gangs had been found in possession of three grenades, 20 guns, 677 bullets, 2,163 shotgun cartridges and more than 100 knives.
The most violent of his alleged crimes came in 2009 when he masterminded a drive-by shooting in Sichuan province in which three people were killed. (© Daily Telegraph, London)