Former Chinese vice minister of police sentenced for corruption



BEIJING (AP) — A former deputy police minister accused of leading a criminal gang of government officials was given a two-year suspended death sentence on Friday for stock market manipulation, bribery and other crimes, in a case which implicated at least two former Cabinet officials, Chinese state television reported.

Sun Lijun’s sentencing adds to a series of senior officials who have been punished in an anti-corruption campaign launched after President Xi Jinping came to power in late 2012 that some see as politically motivated.

The latest sanction comes ahead of a meeting of the ruling Communist Party next month in which Xi is expected to try to break with tradition and give himself a third five-year term in office.

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A former justice minister and a former ruling party official accused of colluding with Sun received similar punishments on Thursday.

Sun was found guilty by a court in the northeast city of Changchun of collecting 646 million yuan ($91 million) in bribes, China Central TV reported on its website.

Sun was accused of using his official position in 2018 to manipulate stock trading to help a trader avoid losses. He has also been accused of selling official jobs and abandoning his post during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sun was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve. These sentences can be commuted to imprisonment if the convicted person is deemed to have reformed. CCTV said if Sun’s death sentence was commuted, he would be sentenced to life without parole.

Former Justice Minister Fu Zhenghua pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to cover up criminal activities. Earlier reports accused him of joining “Sun Lijun’s political gang”.

Party official Wang Like was accused of accepting 440 million yuan ($62 million) in bribes to help close deals or secure loans and jobs. He was accused of offering 97 million yuan ($14 million) in bribes to Sun and other officials.

The ruling party’s anti-corruption agency accused Sun last year of having “grossly exaggerated political ambition”. He said he engaged in unspecified “superstitious activities”.

Earlier, Sun was named in a lawsuit brought by the US Department of Justice against Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn to compel Wynn to register as a foreign agent due to lobbying work he did. he reportedly performed for the Chinese government.

The lawsuit says senior officials, including Sun, wanted Wynn’s help in trying to deny a Chinese citizen’s visa application, according to the complaint. Beijing wanted the man, accused of corruption and having requested political asylum, returned to China.

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