Guo Yongxiang, a former deputy Sichuan governor and a senior aide to retired Communist Party security tsar Zhou Yongkang, has been expelled from the party and will face prosecution, the authorities announced yesterday.
Guo, 65, is accused of taking "massive bribes" directly or through his son, and abusing his power by helping others, including his son, to make profits, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said. It also accused him of being "morally corrupt", implying that he had extramarital affairs.
The announcement on Guo brings the Communist Party another step closer to deciding the fate of Zhou, who has been detained under internal investigation since December. Zhou was until late 2012 one of the party's nine most powerful officials. He was investigated after findings from an inquiry into Guo were presented to the top leadership, the South China Morning Post earlier reported.
The most serious allegations against Guo are related to bribes obtained through his son, Guo Lianxing. The latter is believed to have had business dealings with Zhou family associates, according to sources and documents. An energy company founded under the son's name in 2010 is registered at the same address as four firms known to have close ties to Zhou's elder son, Zhou Bin. The property is owned by Zhou Bin's mother-in-law, Zhan Minli.
Guo Lianxing is the energy company's legal representative; its major shareholder is Mi Xiaodong , Zhou Bin's classmate at the Southwest Petroleum University in Chengdu, Sichuan. The company was dissolved the month Guo was detained. Neither Guo nor his son could be reached for comment.
"Accepting bribes through family members … has become a pattern for corrupt officials," Zhang Ming, a politics professor at Beijing's Renmin University, said. "But corrupt officials can no longer be confident of escaping punishment … after the authorities focused their investigations on family members."
Guo, Zhou's former secretary, was detained last June for serious violations of party discipline. At the time, he was semi-retired in an honorary role as chairman of the Federation of Literary and Art Circles in Sichuan, Zhou's political power base.
Guo and Zhou worked together for more than a decade until 2002, when Zhou became a member of the party's Politburo as head of the Public Security Ministry.