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February 23, 2010

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Former Putuo director admits to web of graft

A FORMER Putuo District director yesterday pleaded guilty to all charges involving about 2.84 million yuan (US$416,031) in bribes.

Cai Zhiqiang, 46, is accused of taking advantage of government positions over the past decade to help some company owners gain profits.

Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court has yet to hand down a verdict.

Cai's hair has turned gray, making him look older than the "TV serial star" tag he received from Netizens when he was first arrested.

From February 1999 to March 2009, Cai worked as the acting director of the office of the Shanghai Personnel Bureau; division chief of the human resources department under the bureau; deputy bureau director; deputy director; acting director; and director of Putuo District government.

His biggest bribe - 1.13 million yuan as well as 10,000 Australian dollars (US$8,992) and a free glass-enclosed room for his home - came from Wang Yuexiang, owner of Shanghai Hongquan Group, prosecutors alleged.

In June 2005, Cai, then deputy director of Putuo District, approved tax rebates for Hongquan when it developed a residential community.

In 2008, Cai approved Hongquan to be a founder of Putuo Baoxiang Small Loans, a pilot company that enjoyed favorable policies.

"I tried to return the money to Wang several times but Wang always refused," Cai told the court.

Cai's first bribe came from Zhang Linchang, owner of Ziyuan Real Estate.

Cai helped Zhang move his family's permanent-residence registration from Zhejiang Province to Shanghai in 1999. At a dinner in early 2000, Zhang gave Cai 20,000 yuan in cash, the court heard.

In July 2006, Cai helped Zhang buy an office building in Putuo District's Changfeng Commercial Area for 41.8 million yuan. Zhang gave Cai 290,000 yuan from 2000 to 2007, prosecutors said.

Cai said he helped Zhang get a low price on the building because Zhang promised to move Ziyun's headquarters to the district.

There were other bribes, prosecutors said, involving a shady automobile deal, a library project and an office building.

Cai confessed to taking the bribes when he was first investigated and has returned all illicit money.


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