China jails ex-top communist official for life term over graft

China jails ex-top communist official for life term over graft
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BEIJING: A former Chinese Communist Party official who was once tipped for a top leadership post was sentenced to life in prison for bribery on Tuesday, the latest senior cadre to fall in President Xi Jinping’s sweeping anti-corruption crusade.

Sun Zhengcai, a former Politburo member and party chief of the southwestern mega-city of Chongqing, was found guilty of taking over 170 million yuan ($26.7 million) in bribes, the First Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin said in a statement on its website.

Sun, 54, had once been tipped for promotion to the Politburo’s elite seven-member standing committee, which rules the country and is presided over by Xi.

As the youngest Politburo member, Sun was even seen in some quarters as a potential successor to Xi.

The court said the defendant had been given a “lenient” sentence in light of his willingness to cooperate with the investigation.

In addition to his prison term, Sun’s “stolen property has already all been confiscated,” the statement said.

A photo posted on the court’s website showed the former leader in the dock, head deeply bowed as two police officers look on.

Sun had been accused of taking advantage of his position to seek profits for others and illegally accepting money, according to previous court statements.

He and his alleged associates were charged with accepting the bribes in return for providing help to unspecified organisations and individuals with engineering contracts, business operations and other matters.

His actions had “gravely damaged the normal work order of national organisations and harmed the integrity of conduct by national employees,” the statement said.

He pleaded guilty to the charges during a one-day trial in April. APP/AFP

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