A state official in Shenyang received the death sentence yesterday for stealing more than 27 million yuan (HK$25.4 million) in public money to build a luxury ranch, Xinhua reported. Xia Renfan, the former chief of a state-run coach company, was convicted on 10 counts of corruption, five counts of embezzlement, eight counts of receiving bribes and one count of giving bribes. He was accused of embezzling 18.3 million yuan, stealing 8.8 million yuan and receiving 668,000 yuan in bribes. Prosecutors said Xia had used the money to pay for a 667-hectare ranch. From July 1997 to September 2000, Xia transferred 12.5 million yuan of public money to the bank accounts of his company and relatives. About 11 million yuan went to building the ranch, the court verdict said. In addition, between November 1998 and April 2000, Xia used 2.8 million yuan of public money to buy coal for his ranch, the report said. It added that Xia had forced his employees to pay bribes to suppliers. According to Xinhua, Xia also received 210,000 yuan in illegal commissions when his company was negotiating the purchase of new buses. Xia was also found guilty of demanding a bribe of more than 170,000 yuan from another bus company in exchange for a new route in Shenyang. Xinhua did not say whether Xia planned to appeal against the sentence.