How exiled Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui manipulated an anti-graft official to secure huge gains
Meng Huiqing, formerly with the party’s top anti-graft watchdog, is now serving a 12-year jail term for taking 6.5 million yuan in bribes
A disgraced disciplinary official of the Communist Party helped exiled billionaire Guo Wengui secure huge business gains by interfering in a number of cases in exchange for bribes, according to a court verdict on his corruption case released last week.
Meng Huiqing, formerly with the party’s top graft agency and now serving a 12-year jail term for taking 6.5 million yuan (US$956,000) in bribes, is the latest political patron of Guo to be put in the spotlight by Beijing, after former spymaster Ma Jian appeared in a video confession in April about how he and Guo looked after each other’s interests.
Guo, who is now living in New York but is subject to an Interpol red notice, has drawn global attention in recent months by unleashing a whirlwind of corruption allegations against senior party leaders in live-streamed interviews with overseas media as well as on Twitter, but has so far provided little hard evidence for his claims.
Beijing responded by launching an all-out publicity war on Guo in Chinese media and cyberspace to discredit him with its own allegations of fraud and links with corrupt officials.
The verdict on Meng was released last Saturday on the website of the Beijing courts. But it went unreported by mainland media until financial news outlet Caixin published a lengthy story on Friday morning.
The report coincided with the fraud trial of three Guo associates at a Dalian district court.
The verdict cited testimonies that, from 2002 to 2015, Meng repeatedly exploited his power in the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party’s internal anti-graft watchog, to intervene, at Guo’s request, in a number of cases involving local police, prosecutors and the anti-graft agency itself.
In one case, Meng and a senior disciplinary official visited the deputy police chief in Tianjin to help Guo clear the obstacles to illegally take over the shares of a Tianjin company from businessman Zhao Yunan. Guo profited 400 million yuan from the transaction, the verdict said.
In another case, Meng helped Guo bring down a municipal deputy police chief in Henan province who was leading an investigation into a fraud case against Guo. Meng, who was at the time part of an inspection team sent by the CCDI to sniff out corrupt officials in the province, wielded his influence to put the deputy police chief under investigation for graft.
In return for his assistance, Guo gave Meng 5.7 million yuan in cash, and rented him a flat at well below the market price, the verdict said.
Caixin’s report said Guo’s illegal takeover of the Tianjin company’s assets was one of the charges levelled against him to justify Interpol issuing the red notice.
Another charge was that Guo offered Ma, the former deputy spy chief who remains in custody while facing prosecution, 60 million yuan in bribes.