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Former chip guru at Tsinghua Unigroup pleads guilty in corruption trial

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Former chip guru at Tsinghua Unigroup pleads guilty in corruption trial after Beijing’s anti-graft push

Between 2018 and 2021 Zhao took advantage of his position as the chairman of Tsinghua Unigroup to acquire illicit fundsBeijing has recently increased its scrutiny of corrupt practices in the chip sector amid the country’s domestic semiconductor industry pushSemiconductorsXinmei ShenPublished: 8:00pm, 29 Sep, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

Zhao Weiguo, the former head of state-backed chip conglomerate Tsinghua Unigroup, has pleaded guilty to charges including corruption, months after Beijing launched an anti-graft campaign targeting the semiconductor industry.

Between 2018 and 2021, Zhao took advantage of his position as the chairman of Tsinghua Unigroup, and conspired with an individual named Li Luyuan to illegally misappropriate state-owned assets totalling over 470 million yuan (US$64.3 million), prosecutors in the northeastern province of Jilin said on Thursday.

Zhao obtained the assets by manipulating property prices at the Tongzhou Business Park in Beijing, according to the Jilin prosecutors. Zhao and Li arranged for the business park, which was originally slated to be sold to Tsinghua Unigroup, to be bought by a firm controlled by Li at a low price, allowing them to gain profits later from the property’s inflated value, prosecutors said.

Zhao also used his authority to assign profitable operations to certain individuals, including Li, and bought services from Li’s firms at prices significantly higher than market value, resulting in 890 million yuan of “direct economic losses” for the state, prosecutors said.

Local regulator rebukes chip unit of Tsinghua Unigroup for investment violations

Local prosecutors also said on Thursday that Zhao had leased projects of a publicly-listed company he controlled to Li at prices significantly lower than market prices, leading to losses of more than 46.45 million yuan at the public company.

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