BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese rice trader who shot to fame last year over a bogus claim that he had purchased a U.S. bank was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison on conviction of falsifying invoices to evade taxes.
An Intermediate Court in the eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou issued the verdict against Lin Chunping, saying he had evaded several millions of dollars in taxes through writing false invoices between September 2011 and May 2012.
Lin shot to fame in early 2012 when state media reported that he had taken over a Delaware-based bank for $60 million, and the unprecedented acquisition brought him praise and a political appointment to a municipal advising body.
Overseas acquisitions are a point of pride in China, showcasing its rising economic power. Lin's supposed purchase of an American bank was particularly appealing because it signaled both Chinese triumph and U.S. decline.
The story attracted so much attention that Chinese journalists familiar with U.S. banking regulations checked into the legitimacy of Lin's claims, and the bank turned out to be nonexistent. By June, Lin was arrested on suspicion of the tax fraud.