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August 28, 2009

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Bribes net environmental deals

A FORMER deputy director of Shanghai's environmental protection bureau pleaded guilty in court yesterday to a charge of accepting more than 1 million yuan (US$146,413) in bribes in return for helping companies obtain regulatory approvals.

He said he initially didn't think there was anything wrong with taking money from people who were grateful for his assistance.

Yan Shunjun, 63, who retired in April 2008, used to be in charge of environmental supervision, environment-related construction projects and radiation control.

He decided to make advantage of his position over the past decade to make money in anticipation of his post-retirement income reduction, he told the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court yesterday.

"I was afraid my life would not be as good when I retired as it was when I was working," he said. "I could not resist the temptation of the money."

The bribes amounted to 864,000 yuan, US$20,000 and 4,000 euros (US$5,708) in cash, prosecutors said.

The largest bribe - 400,000 yuan - came from Shanghai Huajing Environmental Protection Engineering Co Ltd. From 2002 to 2008, Yan helped the firm obtain a noise-control project from Shanghai Volkswagen and later helped it get another noise-control contract for Shanghai's Outer Ring Road, prosecutors said.

In six other cases, Yan helped various institutions obtain environmental evaluation approvals and construction projects, prosecutors said. The court didn't announce a verdict yesterday.


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