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February 24, 2011

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Corrupt officials more crafty now

SOME government officials in Shanghai who trade power for money have deliberately delayed accepting bribes until after they retire in an effort to conceal the deals, the city's anti-corruption watchdog said yesterday.

The methods of corruption are much more intricate now compared with years ago and the value of bribes has increased rapidly, with officials adopting more ingenious ways of covering up their crimes, said Dong Junshu, a top official with Shanghai's Party discipline inspection commission, the major investigating force dealing with corruption in government officials and managers of state-owned operations.

"Bribe-taking officials are becoming more sophisticated in covering up their shady business, which has led to a new trend in corruption cases," Dong said.

Putting off the acceptance of bribes until well after the event has become one of the new tricks, a recent -anti-corruption investigation showed.

"Some officials will wait for several years before collecting money or properties in bribes - some don't even take them until after they retire in order to cover up traces of the deals," Dong said.

"Years ago, a single case rarely exceeded 1 million yuan (US$152,082) in bribes, but now cases involving several -million have become common," Dong added.

The discipline inspection watchdog last year investigated 810 cases involving government and state-owned company officials. So far 793 of the cases, involving 794 officials, have been closed, bringing 65 to face criminal charges. The rest were punished administratively by being fired or demoted.

Three bureau-director level officials were the highest-ranking prosecuted last year. - Tao Xiaoxing, Jiao Zichun and Shi Qiubo.

Tao, the former deputy director with the land and housing bureau in charge of land-use approvals, pleaded guilty to receiving bribes of 10.45 million yuan in a court hearing on Tuesday.

In November, Jiao, the former chairman of state-owned Changjiang Computer Group, a government position equal to a bureau director, was sentenced to 17 years in jail for taking more than 2 million yuan in bribes and embezzling 1.48 million yuan.

Shi, the former deputy director of the Shanghai Justice Bureau, is facing trial for allegedly taking around 1.9 million yuan in bribes.


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