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Graft gets Bo ally deferred death verdict

Friday, March 15, 2013

An ally of disgraced politician Bo Xilai has received a suspended death sentence for taking millions of yuan in bribes, a Beijing lawyer said, in the latest fallout from one of the nation's biggest political scandals.

Tang Jianhua is a former deputy police chief of the southwestern city of Chongqing, where Bo was Communist Party secretary.

Tang was found guilty of taking 17 million yuan (HK$21.2 million) in bribes, according to Li Zhuang, a lawyer and prominent opponent of Bo during his time as party boss.

The sentence was handed down by a Chongqing court more than a month ago.

Asked about the sentencing, an official in Chongqing city's propaganda department said: "We are not clear about this so far."

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The Chongqing court that sentenced Tang did not immediately reply to a faxed request for comment.

Bo was ousted from his post last year after his estranged police chief, Wang Lijun, fled briefly to the Chengdu US consulate and accused Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, of poisoning British businessman Neil Heywood, who died in November 2011.

Gu and Wang have since been convicted and jailed, Wang for abuse of power, bribe taking, defection and "bending the law for selfish ends."

Bo, 63, was once widely tipped for promotion to the party's elite inner core.

No criminal charges against him have been announced but Tang's conviction, if confirmed, would indicate prosecutors are slowly resolving cases linked to him.

The Central Discipline Inspection Commission, the anti-corruption authority investigating Bo and his allies, last year ordered Tang to face questioning. He was arrested in September.

A suspended death sentence means Tang will likely face life in prison as long as he does not commit any offenses in the next two years.

REUTERS


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