A rich businessman and former lawmaker from Heilongjiang province accused of rape by a former television anchorwoman was sentenced to 11 years in prison for corruption and fraud, state media reported on Tuesday.
A local court in Shuangcheng city gave Sun Dejiang, a former member of the city’s municipal People’s Congress, an 11-year sentence for corruption and fraud charges, the official China News Service quoted court officials as saying yesterday.
But a staff member at the propaganda office of the municipal party committee told the South China Morning Post the verdict was announced as long ago as last year.
“I have no idea why [mainland media] broke the story yesterday. All I can tell you is that Sun was given the sentence on November 31, last year and he is now in jail,” the propaganda officer, who declined to give his surname, said.
It was unclear if Sun had lodged an appeal.
The court heard that Sun helped others fake retirement documents to receive pensions, and used fake invoices to claim medical expenses, the court told the China News Service.
Rape charges were not included in his conviction.
The 56-year-old businessman and lawmaker was placed in the spotlight in 2012 when well-known local TV anchor Wang Dechun accused him on Sina Weibo of raping her and forcing her into a sexual relationship.
In a petition letter posted under the account name of “Wang Liulang 2012”, the 44-year-old former TV anchor wrote that she was forced to maintain a sexual relationship with Sun in exchange for her mother’s pension and her position in the local TV station.
“Sun threatened to ruin my reputation with a sex recording and forced me to have sex with him when I was seven months into my pregnancy,” the letter said.
Sun was the general manager of Shuangcheng Machinery in 2012, a government-owned company previously a subsidiary of the former municipal industrial development bureau.
The Beijing Times reported last year that Sun had started his career as a worker in a brewery and had been promoted to chair the government-owned machinery company because of his “efficient handling” of the petitions filed by the laid-off workers.
Named and shamed on Sina Weibo, Sun was soon removed from his position and placed under investigation by the local anti-graft watchdog. He was stripped of his party membership on the last day of 2012, state media reported.
Both the local propaganda official and the municipal commission for discipline inspection declined to comment on whether Sun was charged with rape.
Wang said in an interview with the Beijing Times that the arrest of former Chongqing district official Lei Zhengfu after his sex tape surfaced on Sina Weibo encouraged her to file the petition. Lei, a former district party secretary, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for corruption last year.
“Whether or not he is given the punishment he deserves, I already ruined my reputation the moment I [stood up] for myself,” Wang told the Beijing-based newspaper.
Wang could not be reached for comments on Wednesday.