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November 18, 2010

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City official arrested for corruption

TAO Xiaoxing, the official in charge of Shanghai's land-use approvals has been arrested for taking bribes described as a "massive amount," local prosecutors announced yesterday. Prosecutors said that an investigation had started earlier and Tao has now been arrested under the charge of taking bribes and abusing his position of power.

The 59-year-old is vice director of the Shanghai Housing, Land and Resources Administrative Bureau and has the power to plan and approve the use of city land.

The prosecutors announced that their investigation had so far showed that Tao has taken bribes in the form of cash, valuables and property from several companies and individuals and approved land purchases and projects in return.

Prosecutors did not reveal details, but said the bribes have added up to a "heavy amount" and that the crime was serious.

The Shanghai-born man had held among several top government positions in the Songjiang District before being appointed to his current position.

An official in close contact with Tao told the Beijing-based Caijing Magazine in an interview that Tao had been questioned frequently about "money issues" after Shanghai's 2006 pension fund scandal which was the downfall of the city's ex-Party chief Chen Liangyu and several other land resources officials.

The convicted ex-officials were charged with corruption connected to property developers and illegally using money from Shanghai's social security fund to invest in real estate and highway projects.

Zhu Wenjin, Tao's former subordinate as head of the housing bureau's land-use management department, was also toppled in the same scandal. Zhu was sentenced to 15 years for taking 4 million yuan (US$682,183) in bribes from real estate developers.

Later in August 2008, the former director of the bureau, Yin Guoyuan - once Tao's supervisor - was given a capital sentence with a two-year reprieve for corruption which included taking bribes.


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