A growing number of business elites and government officials are committing criminal offences, with an increasing amount of money involved, finds a new report by Shenzhen-based lawyer Wang Rongli.
According to China Daily, Wang collected case files of 85 influential entrepreneurs sentenced or accused of criminal offences in 2009. A total of 36 were from State-owned enterprises (SOE) and 49 from private enterprises.
"I have watched this field for over 20 years, and I found entrepreneurial crime has grown quickly in recent years, with an increasing amount of money involved," Wang told the Daily. His report was considered the first annual crime report on Chinese entrepreneurs.
Citing Wang's statistics, the Daily says the SOE entrepreneurs' cases involved 3.4 billion yuan ($500 million), including 932 million yuan from corruption and about 1.3 billion yuan misappropriated. Money involved with private entrepreneurs has not yet been calculated, but 36 of the 49 people have over 100 million yuan in personal assets, and seven have already been sentenced to death.
Wang notes that accusations against SOE bosses are mainly for taking bribes, corruption or misappropriation, while private entrepreneurs tend to cross the line from different angles. On the other hand, crimes committed by private entrepreneurs are more complicated. "Various kinds of fraud have most frequently occurred with private companies' lust for profit, followed by violent crimes and offering bribes," Wang told the Daily.
The report suggests that corporate crime is becoming increasingly lucrative - provided the perpetrators do not get caught - and that the scale of corruption has soared in recent years in line with economic growth.