High-ranking inspector convicted

09:05, May 21, 2010      

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Guo Jingyi, a former highranking inspector of the treaty and law department of the Ministry of Commerce.

Guo Jingyi, a former high-ranking inspector of the treaty and law department of the Ministry of Commerce, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve on Thursday for accepting 8.45 million yuan ($1.24 million) in bribes.

The sentence means Guo's behavior in prison will be assessed for two years, following which he will have a chance to appeal for leniency. In China, death sentences with reprieves are usually commuted to life imprisonment.

The Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court also ordered all of Guo's personal property to be confiscated.

As a department chief-level inspector, Guo is the ministry's highest ranking official to have been convicted since its founding in 2003.

The court agreed that the bribes Guo received included about 4.4 million yuan, $250,000, HK$220,000 ($28,197) and also a profit of about 1.6 million yuan from purchasing property at far below the market rate.

According to the procuratorate, from 2004 to 2007 Guo accepted bribes twice, totaling 1.1 million yuan, from home appliance giant Gome Group to help it transfer equity and pass an anti-monopoly inspection.

Huang Guangyu, former chairman of Gome Group and once China's richest man, was sentence on Tuesday to 14 years in jail for illegal business dealings, insider trading and corporate bribery.

The investigation of Huang's case exposed a number of high-ranking officials and Guo is the first among them to have been tried.

The indictment also said that in 2002 Guo, as vice-director of the treaty and law department of the then Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, together with Liu Wei, a former official from the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, helped a real estate company under Beijing Capital Group establish a company with foreign funds.

Guo later bought a villa from the company at half its market price and made a profit on it of about 1.2 million yuan.

In 2005, Guo and Xu Gangman, a former official in the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, helped a company to avoid punishment for illegal currency exchange and together accepted bribes of about 3.9 million yuan.

Guo was further charged with accepting bribes of 780,000 yuan from Zhang Yudong, a college classmate who was a partner in a law firm, by helping Zhang acquire cases.

With Zhang's assistance, Guo illegally profited from buying property below its market value.

Liu, Xu, and Zhang have all been detained and investigated.

Guo, 44, graduated from the law school of Peking University in 1986. After graduation he worked in the then Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, which was later renamed the Ministry of Commerce, and had an impressive career, until he became the inspector of the department of treaty and law in 2008.

On Aug 13, 2008, Guo, at what turned out to be the pinnacle of his career, was suddenly removed from his post and held for investigation.

Source: China Daily(By Wang Jingqiong)


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