TV tower fire culprit gets 20-year jail term

Updated: 2011-12-26 20:08


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BEIJING - The chief culprit in China's state TV tower fire has had his jail term extended by 13 years for corruption, a court in Beijing said Monday.

Xu Wei, former head of the construction office of the China Central Television's (CCTV) headquarters, was convicted of embezzling 3.2 million yuan ($506,000) from two CCTV subsidiaries to buy an apartment and pay air tickets and tours for relatives between 2005 and 2007, according to a verdict handed down by the Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court last Monday.

Xu was also found to have asked for a bribe of 1 million yuan from a contractor of the CCTV headquarters in August 2008.

All the money involved has been retrieved, said the court, which also ordered the confiscation of 480,000 yuan from Xu's personal assets.

Prosecutors uncovered the corruption while Xu was serving a seven-year prison term handed down in May last year for making the decision to stage an illegal fireworks show on the Lantern Festival in February 2009.

The fire triggered by the fireworks engulfed the 30-story building in Beijing's Central Business District, killing one firefighter and injuring six others and two construction workers.

The cost of the fire was estimated at more than 160 million yuan ($25.3 million).