Party expels Olympics works chief over graft

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 December, 2006, 12:00am

Former Beijing vice-mayor is handed over to prosecutors

The Communist Party has expelled former Beijing vice-mayor Liu Zhihua who oversaw the city's Olympic construction projects and handed him to prosecutors over corruption charges, state media reported yesterday.

Liu was accused of taking bribes totalling several million yuan and helping his mistress seek huge profits in construction projects, Xinhua said, citing anti-graft authorities.

'Liu Zhihua led a decadent lifestyle by keeping a mistress and abused his power to help his mistress get project contracts and seek huge amounts of illegal profits,' it said. Xinhua said Liu would be turned over to the judicial authorities for investigation and punishment, indicating that he was to face trial.

The announcement came amid intense overseas speculation that President Hu Jintao had used Liu's case to expand a graft probe in Beijing, targeting Politburo Standing Committee member Jia Qinglin and Beijing party secretary Liu Qi .

Liu Zhihua, believed to be a protege of Mr Jia, a former Beijing party secretary, was in charge of venue construction for the Beijing Olympics Games before his sudden removal in June.

Yesterday's report was the first time the official media had given some details of his alleged wrongdoings. However, the report was careful to avoid giving any detail about the alleged link between his wrongdoings and the 2008 Olympic Games because the mainland leadership is very wary of any adverse impact on the Games.

Sources close to the case said that with Liu's help, his mistress had been involved in Olympicrelated projects valued at several hundred million yuan and had made huge profits. Beijing Olympic organisers have repeatedly dismissed any link between his wrongdoing and the Olympic projects.

'What he has done has caused vile social and political impact and major economic losses,' the report added.

Yesterday's announcement, coming against the backdrop of intense political jockeying ahead of a key party congress next year, could be seen as drawing an end to the wide-ranging graft probe in the capital, analysts said.

In a separate report, Xinhua hailed Liu's expulsion as another sign of the party's determination to fight corruption. The report listed Chen Liangyu and former statistics chief Qiu Xiaohua along with Liu Zhihua as examples of major corruption cases Beijing had dealt with, saying the downfall of the trio showed significant progress in Beijing's anti-graft campaign.

Former Shanghai party secretary Chen Liangyu, a protege of Mr Hu's predecessor Jiang Zemin , was sacked in September for alleged links to a major social security fund scandal.

Qiu Xiaohua, former head of the National Bureau of Statistics, was sacked one month later for his role in the scandal.

The trio, all believed to have mistresses, are among the highest level mainland officials sacked for corruption charges in recent years.

Beijing has stepped up its crackdown on official corruption, using investigators from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, in a wide-ranging graft probe in Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin and Anhui .




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