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February 13, 2010

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Authorities investigate Olympic graft claims

A FORMER top aviation official has been referred to prosecutors, reportedly over corruption allegations during the Civil Aviation Administration of China's outsourcing for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Yu Renlu, 48, was "double designated" late last month after allegations of taking bribes and offering benefits in return, three months after being appointed vice director of the authority, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

"Double designation" is where a Party official is ordered to explain allegations of disciplinary violations or corruption at a designated time and place.

Xinhua cited sources as saying that the corruption occurred during the aviation authority's outsourcing for the Beijing Olympics.

Before the current inquiry, Yan Peng, former general manager of the CAAC Technology & Equipment Corp Ltd and director of the outsourcing team, was arrested.

After a terrorist attack attempt was foiled on March 7, 2008 when a 19-year-old woman was caught carrying a bottle of gasoline on a plane from Urumqi, capital of southwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, to Beijing, CAAC ordered stricter security measures on flights.

To check for explosives, the authority asked its technology unit to buy monitoring equipment for 18 airports across the nation. The purchase was estimated to cost 700 million yuan (US$102.47 million).

For security concerns, the purchase was made through private tenders. This led to allegations of unfair treatment by Yu.

Though Yu was not involved in the purchase, some bidders had asked him to help them win the deals, Xinhua said.

Some other bidders reported it to the financial authority which has promoted an investigation, Xinhua cited sources as saying.


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