BEIJING (AP) – A former deputy police minister accused of leading a crime ring of government officials was sentenced to death Friday with two years in prison on charges of manipulating the stock market, taking bribes and other offenses. , China’s state television. reported.
Sun Lijun’s conviction adds to a string of senior officials punished in a marathon anti-graft crackdown launched after President Xi Jinping took power in late 2012 that some see as politically motivated.
The latest punishments come ahead of a meeting of the ruling Communist Party next month where Xi is expected to try to break with tradition and award himself a third five-year term as leader.
Sun was convicted at the court in the northeastern city of Changchun of collecting 646 million yuan ($91 million) in bribes, China Central TV reported on its website.
Sun was accused of using his official position in 2018 to manipulate stock trading to help a trader avoid losses. He was also accused of selling official jobs and abandoning his job during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Sun was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve. Such punishments can be commuted to a prison term if the offender is deemed to have reformed. CCTV said that if Sun’s death sentence were commuted, he would be sentenced to life without parole.
A former justice minister and a former ruling party official accused of colluding with Sun received similar penalties on Thursday.
Former minister Fu Zhenghua pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to conceal criminal activity. Earlier news reports accused him of joining the “Sun Lijun political gang.”
Party official Wang Like was accused of taking 440 million yuan ($62 million) in bribes to help with business deals or to get loans and jobs. He was accused of offering 97 million yuan ($14 million) in bribes to Sun and other officials.
The ruling party’s anti-corruption agency last year accused Sun of having “highly inflated political ambition.” He said he was engaged in unspecified “superstitious activities”.
Earlier, the United States Department of Justice named Sun in a lawsuit against Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn, forcing Wynn to register as a foreign agent because of lobbying work he says he did for the U.S. government. China.
The lawsuit says senior officials including Sun sought Wynn’s help in trying to deny a Chinese citizen’s visa application, according to the complaint. Beijing wanted the man, who was accused of corruption and sought political asylum, to return to China.