In a story of rags to riches to prison jumpsuit, Lai Changxing, a Chinese billionaire who paved his path to the top with bribes, was sentenced to life imprisonment Friday. Lai, 53, was born into a family of illiterate peasants, drove an armored Mercedes in his salad days, but fled to Canada a decade ago, staying there until he was extradited back to his homeland in July. Found guilty of smuggling more than $4.3 billion in contraband, an additional 15 years were piled on to Lai’s sentence for his extensive bribes, which totaled more than $5 billion in cash and goods.
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