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Former gaming executive sentenced to death in poisoning of billionaire Netflix producer in China

A former executive at Yoozoo Games was sentenced to death on Friday in the 2020 poisoning of the founder of the high-profile Chinese gaming company, which has links to Game of Thrones and the new Netflix series, "The Three-Body Problem."

Xu Yao poisoned the food of company founder Lin Qi in December 2020 because of a dispute over the running of the business, the Shanghai First Intermediate People's Court said. The Hollywood Reporter, citing local media, reported at the time Lin was allegedly sickened by a cup of poisoned pu-erh tea.

Lin, who was 39, died about 10 days later. Police detained Xu a few days after Lin's death.

Yoozoo Games CEO Lin Qi
Lin Qi, Chairman and CEO of Yoozoo Games Co., Ltd, speaks during a meeting on May 25, 2018 in Chengdu, Sichuan Province of China. Photo by Zhang Zhi/Red Star News/VCG via Getty Images

Four other people were sickened but did not die after Xu poisoned beverages in the office between September and December 2020 because of disputes with two of them, the court said in a statement.

Yoozoo owns the film rights to "The Three-Body Problem," a best-selling Chinese science fiction trilogy, and Xu headed up a subsidiary in charge of business related to it, according to Chinese media reports.

In September 2020, the company granted Netflix the right to produce an adaptation of the trilogy, Chinese state media reported at the time. It is produced by "Game of Thrones" creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and Lin was listed as an executive producer on the series.

Yoozoo, also known as Youzu Interactive, developed "Game of Thrones: Winter Is Coming," a game based on the TV series.

In 2000,  Lin ranked No. 870 among China's richest entrepreneurs with a net worth of 6.8 billion yuan ($1 billion), according to Hurun Report, which follows China's wealthy.

After Lin died, the BBC reported that his company issued an emotional statement on its official Weibo microblog.

"Goodbye youth," it said, adding, "We will be together, continue to be kind, continue to believe in goodness, and continue the fight against all that is bad."

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