December 18, 2009

A Chinese businesswoman was sentenced to death Friday for cheating investors out of $56 million, in what has become the latest case in the country's struggle against widespread corruption.

Wu Ying, 28, started out ten years ago with a single beauty salon but eventually built up a holding group, Bense Holdings, that was known around the country, according to China's state-run Xinhua News Agency.

The report said Wu collected the $56 million from investors over two years and was arrested in 2007.

In China, the death penalty is used even for nonviolent crimes such as corruption or tax evasion, a BusinessWeek article reports.

Still, this year the country's highest court, which reviews all death sentences, called for it to be used less often and for only the most serious criminal cases.

The Intermediate People's Court in Jinhua city, eastern Zhejiang province, said Wu used the money for personal use and operating costs and to pay off loans.

The Xinhua report said Wu confessed but then retracted her confession in April.

Melanie Rodier has worked as a print and broadcast journalist for over 10 years, covering business and finance, general news, and film trade news. Prior to joining Wall Street & Technology in ...