BEIJING - Former Shanghai Communist Party Chief Chen Liangyu was sentenced to 18 years in jail for bribery and abuse of power on Friday in an initial trial by the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People's Court.
The court also confiscated 300,000 yuan (US$42,860) in the personal assets of Chen, aged 61, who was also a former member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Experts said that bringing Chen to justice demonstrated the resolution of the CPC Central Committee to build a clean party, promote clean governance and fight corruption.
"Whoever it is, no matter how high their positions are, anyone who violates party rules or national law will be severely punished," the Central Committee once said in a statement.
According to court documents, from 1988 to 2006, Chen took advantage of his positions as head of the Huangpu district government, vice-mayor and mayor of Shanghai Municipal Government, as well as deputy secretary and secretary of the Shanghai CPC Municipal Committee, to seek profits for Shanghai New Huangpu Group Company (SNHGC) and Shanghai Shenhua Football Club.
Chen admitted that Wu Minglie, the former head of SNHGC, had replaced Chen's father's old home with a new one that was valued at 930,000 yuan more than the old residence, previous media reports said. Other members of Chen's family also accepted free foreign trips from Wu, the reports said.
Also, the reports said, Chen asked Yu Zhifei, the former head of the football club, to arrange a senior post for his son, Chen Weili.
Chen Weili later acted as deputy general manager of the club, for which he was paid 352,000 yuan, although he did not actually work there, the reports said.
The illicit profits consisted of fiscal subsidies or compensation for building demolition, as well as deals involving idle land or property.
Chen extorted money from or accepted bribes of more than 2.39 million yuan from organizations and individuals, the court heard. Chen urged his relatives to return all these funds after his case was uncovered.
During 2002, when Chen held the posts of acting mayor and mayor of the Shanghai Municipal Government, he made a decision in violation of the established procedures to transfer a stake in the Shanghai Road and Bridge Development Corp., which was held by Shanghai Chengtou Corp. a state-owned company, to the private-sector Shanghai Fuxi Investment Holdings.
The stake was not assessed according to procedure, which resulted in it being undervalued and transferred at a below-market price, causing an economic loss of 320 million yuan to the state.
From 2002 to 2003, while acting as the mayor of the Shanghai Municipal Government and secretary of the Shanghai CPC Municipal committee, Chen used his position to seek benefits for his brother, Chen Liangjun.