TWO executives have been executed for their involvement in a 3.2 billion yuan (HK$2.98 billion) pyramid scam - the biggest corruption scandal since 1949. Liu Jiachen, Vice-President of the Supreme People's Court, said yesterday Deng Bin and Yao Jingyi lost their appeals to Jiangsu's Higher People's Court. The executions took place in Wuxi yesterday. The women were sentenced to death by the Wuxi Intermediate People's Court when first brought to trial on November 13. They were found guilty by the Wuxi court of illegal fund-raising and taking and offering bribes to senior government officials. Four other defendants got suspended death sentences or jail terms ranging from four to 20 years. Among them was Jin Huizhen, a retired police officer of the Wuxi Public Security Bureau. Jin, reportedly the wife of Wuxi's chief prosecutor Gao Zhenjiang, was given 10 years' jail and expelled from the party. The six were charged last July in Wuxi for a pyramid scam said to have cost state firms 3.2 billion yuan. Hundreds of firms and government agencies believed they had found a way to earn spectacular profits while circumventing the authorities. Deng Bin, the alleged ringleader, was head of a firm called Xinxing at the top of the illegal pyramid. The China News Service said 38 other defendants would soon be brought to trial for their involvement in the scam and as many as 123 Communist Party members had been 'disciplined'. Xinhua (the New China News Agency) and China News Service did not say if Li Min, former secretary of Beijing Mayor Li Qiyan and his partner Chen Jian, secretary for former Beijing party secretary Chen Xitong, were among those disciplined. Earlier reports said that Li and Chen Jian were arrested in relation to the Wuxi scandal. Their arrests were believed to have led to the downfall of Chen Xitong and his protege vice-mayor Wang Baosen last April. While Wang killed himself to escape prosecution, Chen Xitong was stripped of his Politburo membership last June and is said to be under investigation. However, it appears unlikely that Chen will face criminal charges now the Xinxing scam is concluded. Highlighting the emphasis the party has placed on cracking corruption, the People's Daily today publishes a commentary, calling on cadres to learn a lesson from the scandal. 'This is a most unusual case since the founding of the People's Republic . . . it went on for four years and the cadres disciplined numbered as many as 123,' the commentary says. 'The damage it has done is very serious and we should have learned a deep lesson from it,' it adds. However, it stressed that despite the gravity of the case, the party was determined to wipe out all corrupt elements and put a stop to the proliferation of bribe-taking in the country.