China Sentences Former Official to Life in Prison for Abuse of Power and Bitcoin Mining

China Sentences Former Official to Life in Prison
  • Chinese Official Sentenced to Life in Prison for Supporting Illicit Crypto Mining Operations
  • It would have provided financial and electricity subsidies to a Bitcoin mining company
  • He was also found guilty of corruption charges not associated with cryptocurrency.

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A former Chinese government official will spend the rest of his days behind bars for engaging in wrongdoing, including cryptocurrency mining activities.

The Chinese authorities sentenced the former official, Yi Xiao, to life in prison on charges of abuse of power and corruption, as well as for engaging in illegal activities related to cryptocurrencies. This was ruled by a Chinese court on Tuesday, according to local media reports. The report was picked up by The Block and other specialized newspapers.

The Hangzhou City Intermediate People’s Court, located in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, found that Xiao abused his position of power to support Bitcoin mining operations.

Specifically, they allege that the official, who served as Fuzhou City Party Secretary from 2017 to 2021, abused his power when he helped companies engaged in crypto mining, “resulting in significant losses to public property, the national and people’s interests “, details the court ruling.

Xiao reportedly provided electricity and financial subsidies to Jiumu Group Genesis Technology, a Fuzhou city-based company that at one point operated more than 160,000 Bitcoin mining machines.

Xiao was also indicted on non-cryptocurrency-related corruption charges. In this regard, the court said that the former official took advantage of his role as vice chairman of the Jiangxi provincial committee of the people’s political consultative conference, to illegally accept more than 125 million yuan ($17.1 million) in bribes.

As a result of the sentence, Xiao, who pleaded guilty to the charges against him, was sentenced to life in prison. In addition, he was deprived of his political rights for life and all of his personal assets were confiscated, The Block reported.

Cryptocurrency ban in China

Activities with digital currencies such as Bitcoin, including trading, trading, and mining, are strictly prohibited in China. The local government implemented a severe restriction in September 2021, shortly after starting a crackdown on the industry in several of the country’s provinces.

Reports have circulated this year about the alleged arrests of executives from well-known cryptocurrency companies, including Huobi and Multichain. The team behind the latter project confirmed the rumors last month.

Despite the ban, China is said to remain one of the most important markets for Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. Meanwhile, Hong Kong has been distancing itself from China’s stance and has implemented progressive new regulations to boost the crypto, Blockchain and Web3 industry at the local level.