Boyaa Interactive CEO Zhang Wei is languishing in a Chinese prison cell after losing an appeal for charges of bribery. He’s facing a year behind bars and that’s just one of the indignities that’s been visited upon the China-based social gaming company this year.
Wei’s prison sentence stems from a May 2018 conviction in which authorities found him guilty of offering something that’s locally referred to as, “bribes by entities,” according to a report on Inside Asian Gaming. At the conclusion of that case, Zhei was sentenced to one year behind bars with an 18-month suspended sentence (which would presumably be implemented if he finds himself awry of local law enforcement once the 12-month sentence is up). He was also ordered to pay a little more than $300,000 in fines.
Company officials, who are now grappling with a host of problems brought on by Zhei’s legal misfortunes, had hoped that there was enough evidence to win his case on appeal, but were struck down. Now they’ve got a CEO in the clink and a public-facing company whose fortunes are falling at a very rapid clip.
Boyaa was facing troubles before Zheng’s arrest as a result of a crackdown on online gambling by Chinese authorities. That dragnet caught up plenty of compay’s like Boyaa that are not traditional operators, but offer games such as Texas Hold ‘Em. All that scrutiny, however, helped drive Boyaa’s revenue into the ground. Their early returns on 2018 were down ore than 20 percent over the previous year. The company has also seen a big drop in Texas Hold ‘Em signups.