A former Sichuan province environmental chief is battling corruption charges seven years after he left office, the Procuratorial Daily reported yesterday. Guo Xingbang faced trial on Thursday, charged with abusing his power for his son's financial benefit and depriving the public purse of more than 10 million yuan. Guo headed the environmental bureau in Sichuan, famed for its beautiful lakes and mountains, between 1994 and 2000. According to prosecutors, Guo abused his power by favouring a private company, Sichuan Green Environment Protection Development, which was set up by former subordinate Gao Jinming , who has also been charged. In return, Gao allegedly gave Guo's son 10 per cent of the company's shares. Guo is alleged to have ensured that permits certifying compliance with environmental protection criteria were granted to Sichuan Green, and is alleged then to have manipulated the selection process so the company became the exclusive waste-treatment processor at the popular Jiuzhaigou tourist spot. Of the eight projects granted to Sichuan Green in the Jiuzhaigou area, seven were not completed and four were declared failures. According to prosecutors, experts said the failed waste treatment plants, which were built along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, would have caused further pollution if put into use. Guo's defence was that no rules specified at the time that projects should be granted through open tender. He also said he had no knowledge about shopping cards and discount cards given to his wife by Gao. Some 300 cadres at county-level ranking or above were investigated or arrested last year for abuse of power.