Company head admits bribe charges

Updated: 2013-09-25 01:11

By CAO YIN (China Daily)

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Defendant made profits through collusion with ex-railways minister

The head of an investment company pleaded guilty on Tuesday to paying millions of yuan in bribes to Liu Zhijun, China's former railways minister.

Ding Yuxin, chairwoman of Boyou Investment Management Corp, confessed in court to giving Liu 49 million yuan ($8 million) from 2008 to 2010 in exchange for lucrative contracts and connections.

Company head admits bribe charges

Ding Yuxin, a Shanxi businesswoman accused of colluding with former railways chief Liu Zhijun over projects worth billions, stands trial in a Beijing court on Tuesday. Ding has been indicted on charges of bribery and illegal business activities. Gong Lei / Xinhua

The 58-year-old also admitted to making 2 billion yuan between 2004 and 2011 from introducing the disgraced minister to others, who then bribed him to win rail construction projects.

Liu was given a suspended death sentence in July for corruption and abuse of power.

"I've been acquainted with Liu for more than 10 years," Ding said in a low voice during Tuesday's hearing at Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court.

"He helped me earn a lot of money when he was a vice-minister and I provided him with contacts," she said.

Ding, who is from Shanxi province and whose original name is Ding Shumiao, said the money was a thank-you.

"To make use of Liu and his contacts, I did what he asked me to do, no matter how much money I had to pay," she said.

Prosecutors said that from 2007 to 2010, the defendant helped 23 companies win 57 railway projects, valued at a total of 185.8 billion yuan.

In mitigation, Ding's lawyer said she only acted as a "bridge" between Liu and the companies, insisting that Liu was in charge.

Chinese media also reported Ding was suspected of providing sexual bribes to Liu, but the allegations were not mentioned in court.

Gray-haired and frail, Ding remained seated throughout the trial due to high blood pressure and heart disease. At one point, the hearing was suspended for 10 minutes when she felt faint, and she was permitted to wear a hat due to a headache.

During proceedings, Ding also admitted to paying a bribe to Fan Zengyu, the then-director in charge of foreign investment projects for the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.

She made 38 "donations" totaling more than 40 million yuan to ensure a positive image, prosecutors said.

The defendant told the court Fan had ordered her to hand over the money.

Fan Zengyu is still being investigated on corruption allegations.

"I hope the court can give me a fair verdict," Ding repeated in her final statement.

The court will reconvene for sentencing at a later date.

On Sept 10, the same court heard the case of Zhang Shuguang, former director of transport for the now-defunct Ministry of Railways. Zhang pleaded guilty to taking 47.55 million yuan in bribes.

Six days earlier, Su Shunhu, the bureau's former deputy chief, also admitted to taking bribes, but his lawyer questioned the sum put forward by prosecutors.

The two former high-ranking officials are also yet to be sentenced.

Yi Shenghua, a Beijing lawyer specializing in graft cases, said corruption is a two-way street.

"If the government wants to improve anti-graft work, the people who pay bribes should be also strictly punished," he said.