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Big graft trial starts for 16 ex-company officials

By Li Qian (Shanghai Daily)

10:29, December 22, 2011

SIXTEEN former senior officials with a state-owned food enterprise stood trial in neighboring Zhejiang Province yesterday on charges of graft and embezzling state-owned assets involving more than 400 million yuan (US$63.24 million).

Ying Guoquan, former chairman of the Wenzhou Vegetable Basket Group, was accused of bribing government officials to get a state-owned group restructured into a limited company, causing 80 percent of the company shares transferred to Ying. Ying was also accused of illegally acquiring 21.67 hectares of land valued at 115.788 million yuan, the Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Wenzhou Intermediate People's Court.

The trial is set to last three days, as the case involving the largest food-supply company in Zhejiang Province is considered one of the most serious corruption cases ever of its kind in the province, Xinhua said.

Ying, with other 15 senior officials, allegedly took bribes of over 220 million yuan, according to yesterday's court hearing. From 1998 to 2007, Ying was also said to have made false reports on the number of employees, receiving 112 million yuan in excessive salary from government departments, the paper said.

Between 2005 and 2010, Ying was believed to channel more than 93.865 million yuan to his son's company.

At the same time, Ying allegedly handed over business of the group to his own companies, including meat shipping, butchery services and vegetable trading, siphoning off about 105 million yuan, the paper said, citing the court hearing.

Ying denied all of the accusations.

Wenzhou Vegetable Basket Group supplies 98 percent of the city's vegetables and meat. There are more than 2,000 employees and more than 20 subsidiary companies. Ying was appointed chairman of the group in 1998.

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