Former top Zhejiang official on bribe charges

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 March, 2011, 12:00am

A former vice-mayor in Zhejiang in the east was put on trial on charges of taking bribes, embezzlement and abuse of power, state media said yesterday.

Xinhua said Xu Maiyong, 52, former vice-mayor of the provincial capital Hangzhou, was involved in taking at least 200 million yuan (HK$237 million) in bribes and state property from 1995 to 2009. His three-day trial began on Wednesday in the Intermediate People's Court of Ningbo city.

Early reports said Xu's wife Qi Jiqiu was also involved and investigated. Qi was promoted from a village warehouse accountant to a county cultural centre head in 1999 after marrying Xu.

When Xu was vice-mayor of Hangzhou, she became a close business partner of some property developers and shareholders of many local big enterprises in the city.

Besides Qi, local media said at least three property developers in Hangzhou were investigated after Xu was sacked following the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection's inquiry - the party's anti-corruption watchdog - in April 2009.

Local media said Xu had become the watchdog's target because of his connection with a 10-square-kilometre wetland park near the famous West Lake.

His subordinate, Wu Shaowen, former deputy head of West Lake District Construction Bureau, was sentenced to death for taking nearly 10 million yuan in bribes in 2008. The sentence was suspended.

Xu was accused of accepting bribes worth more than 160 million yuan from 14 property companies and developers when he was the vice-mayor of Xiaoshan city, as the head of Xihu district in Hangzhou city and as vice-mayor of Hangzhou from 1995 to 2004.

In return, he helped the companies obtain land-use rights, preferential taxation policies and project contracts, Xinhua reported.

Xu was also accused of embezzling more than 53 million yuan in state property when he served as president of Hangzhou Jinjiang Industry Company, it said. He also illegally returned 71 million yuan in land transfer fees to land users, thereby causing major losses in state property, it said.

Xu was once a hopeful young teacher in a local middle school. He was elected as a deputy town chief in his hometown when he was only 25. One year later, he was promoted to deputy head of the county's propaganda department.

Twenty-three years later, he became one of the vice-mayors of the capital city.

A verdict will be handed down soon, Xinhua said.