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Crooked blood bank chief loses appeal

THE People's High Court of Guizhou Province has rejected an appeal by a former blood bank operator and maintained his original sentence of life in prison for the embezzlement and misuse of nearly 100 million yuan (US$14.5 million) in public funds and 10 million yuan in state assets.

He was also found guilty of paying bribes to public officials for protection and dodging taxes worth more than 4 million yuan, Xinhua news agency reported today.

The defendant, Chen Dengfu, was head of the blood bank in Guizhou's Zhenyuan County. He did so well in this position that he had personal assets of more than 10 million yuan and drove a BMW and a Porsche.

But Chen's fortunes began to dim in 2006 when reporters claimed he was making illegal profits from the public blood bank and had spent 21 million yuan to start a real estate company in the provincial capital, Guiyang.

Guizhou Party Secretary Shi Zongyuan ordered an investigation into Chen's activities. Prosecutors and police seized Chen on July 15, 2006.

Chen admitted he had bribed senior officials, including paying 460,000 yuan to Zhenyuan Party Secretary Huang Baoqin to seek his help making the public blood bank "private" which was illegal.

Chen earned money selling donated blood to biochemical and pharmaceutical companies across the nation and having them send most of the payments to two of his own companies.

Huang was sentenced to 13 years in prison for accepting bribes in May 2008.


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