China's Internet celebrity Guo Meimei jailed for running a casino

Guo Meimei (centre) gets off police car to stand trial at Beijing Dongcheng District People's Court on Thursday, Sept 10, 2015.
Guo Meimei (centre) gets off police car to stand trial at Beijing Dongcheng District People's Court on Thursday, Sept 10, 2015.PHOTO: SINA WEIBO/CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Guo Meimei earned Internet notoriety for living an extravagant lifestyle while apparently working for a charity in 2011.
Guo Meimei earned Internet notoriety for living an extravagant lifestyle while apparently working for a charity in 2011. PHOTO: CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK/INTERNET

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Chinese celebrity Guo Meimei who gained notoriety for flaunting a jet-set lifestyle, apparently while working for a charity, was sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday (Sept 10) for running a casino, the Xinhua state news agency reported.

Guo hit the headlines in 2011 after posting photos online showing her in a Maserati sports car and carrying expensive handbags.

At the time, she said she was general manager of an organization under the Red Cross Society of China, a state-backed charity. The charity denied any link to her.

Guo's extravagant lifestyle caused outrage and raised concern about mismanagement of charity funds, leading to a plunge in donations, according to media reports at the time.

Guo was arrested in August 2014 and accused of running a casino. She was prosecuted in May.

She was also fined 50,000 yuan (S$11,000), Xinhua reported, citing a Beijing court ruling.

Guo was not available for comment.

Zhao Xiaolai, another suspect involved in the case, received a two-year sentence and was fined 20,000 yuan, the news agency reported.