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December 26, 2009

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Trial seen for Hangzhou honcho

A FORMER vice mayor of Hangzhou may go on trial around mid-February for allegedly taking bribes worth more than 100 million yuan (US$14.65 million), as the provincial disciplinary supervising authority has referred the case to prosecutors.

Xu Maiyong, 50, allegedly pocketed the illegal earnings connected to land sales to three real estate groups.

His wife Qi Jiqiu is also in custody, yesterday's Xinmin Evening News reported.

The three realty groups had acquired land in Hangzhou's Xihu District while Xu was the district's Party secretary from 2006 to 2008.

Xu is also accused of promoting some officials to enlarge his personal power base in the government and of using his power to buy homes cheaper than their market value, the newspaper reported.

He was also allegedly involved in "power for sex" trades, the report said, citing close sources.

Xu is the highest ranking official ever investigated in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province. His case has rocked the local government, with many officials required to assist the investigation.

Xu was sacked on April 24 from his post in charge of Hangzhou's infrastructure construction, including the city's eastern expansion project and subway.

Born in a poor family, Xu was the only one with normal eyesight in his family. His father was a blind fortune-teller and his big brother is half blind.

Earlier media reports said the investigation into Xu's case was connected with the Xixi National Wetland Park project.

Several officials have been punished for misconduct in connection with the project, the report said.

Wu Shaowen, vice director of Xihu District's construction bureau, was sentenced to death in February with a two-year reprieve after being convicted of taking bribes worth a total of almost 10 million yuan.

No other local government officials were involved so far in the case, according to the newspaper report.


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