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February 9, 2012

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Former high official admits taking 15m yuan in bribes

A former top district official in Shanghai went on trial yesterday and admitted taking bribes exceeding 15 million yuan (US$2.38 million) at the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court.

Chen Meng, former deputy chief of Putuo District, was sacked from his post last September after he was found guilty of bribery in actions he took before he took the post in February.

The Shanghai Discipline Inspection Commission and prosecutors began to look into Chen's activities after receiving anonymous tips about his bribe-taking. Prosecutors said Chen, 49, took advantage of his position as deputy chief of Songjiang District between January 2003 and February 2011 to help others win construction contracts and accept bribes from them in return.

From 2004 to 2008, Chen took about 11.27 million yuan from a boss, surnamed Ma, and provided illegal help for Ma's business in Songjiang including company registration and land trading. Chen spent some of the money to purchase houses.

Chen also took 2.5 million yuan of public funds from a township official, surnamed Shen, in Songjiang District. In return, Chen approved the construction projects to build elevated highways and renovate bridges and roads in the town.

Prosecutors said Chen also received bribes from three other people and offered illegal help for their businesses.

In court yesterday, Chen kept his head down and was quiet most of the time. He did not entrust a lawyer to defend him and admitted all the charges.

"I was so into vying with others and lost self-control," Chen told the court. "And making wrong friends has cost my future."

Before the eight years he worked in Songjiang District, Chen had served as office director of the Jing'an District government, deputy Party secretary of Jing'an District Property Management Bureau, and as general manager of Jing'an Properties Group.

The court did not announce a verdict yesterday.


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