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Former official jailed for graft

THE former deputy director of Putuo District in Shanghai was sentenced yesterday to 13 years in prison for accepting 1.87 million yuan (US$274,000) in bribes over a decade.

The Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court found that Zhang Keming, 65, who was formerly in charge of the district's fiscal work, used his position to generate graft payments from 1995 to 2005.

The court found that Zhang accepted bribes from businessman Liu Baogen, Shanghai Shatian Real Estate Development Co Ltd, Xinchangzheng Group and a Tianjin auto sales company.

From 1995 to 2000, Zhang allowed Shatian to enjoy favorable tax policies in the development of real estate projects, according to testimony.

When Shatian's board chairman, Liang Zhenming, wanted to give Zhang money as a show of gratitude, Zhang said he should wait until after his retirement to ensure secrecy, according to the court.

After Zhang retired in 2005, Liang paid 1 million yuan to Zhang in "consulting" fees, and Zhang used the money for his mortgage, the court said.

Zhang argued at an earlier hearing that the money was legal income for consulting services to Shatian, a point the court did not accept.

Other bribes reportedly came from the Gujing Holiday Inn Shanghai.

The four-star hotel was planned to cover about 2,900 square meters, but Liu Baogen, a shareholder in the hotel, asked Zhang to allow more space. Zhang then expanded the area planned for the hotel, according to a Shanghai Securities News report.

Zhang also helped Liu obtain 1 million yuan in profit from other undisclosed projects, the court said.

In return, Zhang borrowed 350,000 yuan in 2002 from Liu to buy a shop and never returned the funds, according to testimony.

Liu later canceled the loan record, the court said.

The court also found that Zhang accepted 20,000 yuan in early 2002 from the state-owned Xinchangzheng Group for providing it with favorable tax policies.

In addition, the court determined that Zhang and Liu Jiangang, an accountant at an auto sales company in the northern city of Tianjin, received nearly 2 million in bribes and that Zhang pocketed 500,000 yuan of that.

Zhang confessed to receiving the bribes when prosecutors first questioned him. His family has given back all the money.


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