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Businesswoman gets 20 years, fined 2.5b yuan

Updated: 2014-12-17 07:44
By Cao Yin (China Daily)

A former billionaire accused of bribing the ex-railways minister to obtain business illegally was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined 2.5 billion yuan ($404 million) on Tuesday.

Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court first sentenced Ding Yuxin, the former chairwoman of Boyou Investment Management Corp, to 15 years for offering bribes.

It then gave her another 15-year sentence for operating business illegally, according to a statement released by the court on its micro blog.

After combining the punishments for the two offenses, the court finally decided to sentence her to 20 years, fine her 2.5 billion yuan and confiscate her personal property worth 20 million yuan, the statement said.

Ding, 59, who is from Shanxi province and whose original name is Ding Shumiao, was detained in 2011 and stood trial in September last year.

Liu Zhijun, the former railways minister, helped Ding earn a huge amount from 2004 to 2011 and Ding offered him 49 million yuan in bribes to express her thanks, the statement said.

Liu was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve in July 2013 for corruption and abuse of power.

The statement also said Ding gave bribes of more than 40 million yuan to Fan Zengyu, former director of foreign investment projects for the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.

The bribes were given in the name of donations, and Ding offered bribes in this manner 38 times.

Fan's case was heard at Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court in January and the verdict is pending.

The court also said that Ding and some others benefited by more than 3 billion yuan in "agency fees" for helping 23 companies bid for 57 railway construction projects from 2007 to 2010, which constitutes the offense of an illegal business operation.

Of these illicit gains, Ding received more than 2 billion yuan, the court said.

The facts of her offenses were clear and related evidence was sufficient, it said, adding that the punishments were handed down under the Chinese Criminal Law and took into full consideration the "extremely huge" amount involved.

Ding said at her trial, "I did what the former railways minister asked me to do, no matter how much money I had to pay, because he helped me earn lots of money via the construction projects."

Gray-haired and frail, Ding remained seated throughout the trial due to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Beijing criminal lawyer Yi Shenghua said corruption is a "two-way street" and heavier punishments are needed for those offering bribes.

Zhu Lijia, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said that bribery in Western countries is a felony, while in China lighter punishments have been given previously for such offenses.

Those offering bribes in China should face harsher fines and sentences, he said.

People who land official positions or construction projects by offering bribes will negatively affect the country's legal environment, Zhu added.


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