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Sex video official sentenced to jail in Chongqing


20:11, June 28, 2013

The trial of a former official embroiled in a sex tape scandal opened on Wednesday in a court in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality. (Xinhua Photo)

CHONGQING, June 28 (Xinhua) -- A former official embroiled in a sex video scandal was sentenced to 13 years in jail for bribery on Friday in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.

Lei Zhengfu, former secretary of Chongqing's Beibei District Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), was also fined 300,000 yuan (48,554 U.S. dollars), according to the Chongqing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court's ruling.

Lei took advantage of his position and provided help to local companies in exchange for bribes from March 2007 to November 2012, according to a statement from the court.

Lei asked a businessman surnamed Ming for 3 million yuan in February 2008 after being blackmailed by Xiao Ye, a man who conspired with others to lure officials into having sex with women and secretly recorded their trysts in order to blackmail them.

The court believed Lei asked Ming to lend the money to Xiao to avoid the release of his sex video with Zhao Hongxia, despite knowing that it was a case of extortion. Lei also accepted the fact that Ming decided not to claim repayment after Xiao refused to return the money, the court said.

Although Lei asked Xiao to return 1 million yuan to Ming's company in November 2010, the court believed that this did not affect Lei's acceptance of bribes.

Lei also received 10,000 U.S. dollars and a watch from a businessman surnamed Yin at the cost of securing support funds for Yin's company in July 2011, although Lei later surrendered the watch to the office of the Beibei District Committee of the CPC, the statement said.

At the beginning of 2012, Lei helped a doctor surnamed Fan obtain a promotion at a hospital in Chongqing, with Lei's wife receiving 100,000 yuan from Fan later with Lei's permission, the court said.

The court said Lei used his position to obtain benefits for others and accepted bribes totalling more than 3.16 million yuan. His activities constituted the crime of bribery, it said.

Lei said he would consult his lawyer and consider the possibility of an appeal.

The 55-year-old was found to have appeared in a sex video that was posted online in November. He was subsequently removed from his post and detained by police on Feb. 1. In early May, Lei was expelled from the CPC.

Six people, including Xiao and Lei's sex video partner Zhao Hongxia, received jail terms ranging from 18 months to ten years in a separate trial that concluded in the Yubei District People's Court in Chongqing on the same day.

Xiao, Zhao, Xu Sheqing, Yan Peng, Wang Jianjun and Tan Linling were charged with extortion and stood trial on June 20.

Xiao and Xu were sentenced to ten years and four years in prison, respectively, for blackmailing officials.

Zhao was given a jail term of two years with a two-year reprieve.

Yan and Wang, accomplices of Xiao, were sentenced to three-and-a-half years and 18 months with an 18-month reprieve, respectively, according to the ruling.

Tan, a woman who was recorded having sex with the president of a real estate company, was given a jail term of 18 months with an 18-month reprieve.

Xiao, Xu and Yan have lodged appeals, while Zhao, Tan and Wang said they will not appeal.

The sex video case should be a profound lesson for other government officials, said Zhou Zucheng, vice president of the Administrative Law School of the Southwest University of Political Science and Law.

"It is of great importance to restrict and monitor government officials in their power operations," he said.

Zhou said some businessmen pursue benefits by associating with officials, whose unrestrained power offers opportunities for those who wish to obtain illegal profits.

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