China's former railways minister tried for graft

China Featured - June 10th, 2013
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The trial of the man who formerly headed China’s controversial railways ministry, on charges of corruption and abuse of power, has begun.

Liu Zhijun is accused of using his once-powerful post as railways minister to help various people win promotions or contracts and accepting bribes totaling over 64.6 million yuan ($10.5 million) over 25 years, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The indictment against Liu said his “malpractices have led to huge losses of public assets and of the interests of the state and people.”

The verdict will be given at an unspecified later date, Xinhua said.

Liu wept during Sunday’s trial and asked for leniency, according to his lawyer, Qian Lieyang. He argued for charges to be reduced, saying Liu had expressed remorse and argued that 49 million yuan of the amount stated in the prosecutor’s charge did not amount to bribery, reports the BBC.

“When the court makes a decision on sentencing, I hope it will consider his contributions to the country,” Qian said.

Under Chinese criminal law, the death penalty can be imposed for taking bribes over 100,000 yuan, AFP reports.

China dissolved the railways ministry as part of a raft of measures aimed at boosting government efficiency following a series of accidents and corruption scandals.