The following monthly update on developments in the People’s Republic of China’s (“PRC”) antibribery laws, regulations and government enforcement actions is brought to you with the assistance of our colleagues in Squire Sanders’ Shanghai Office.
(1) On February 8, 2012, Chen Meng (“Chen”), former chief deputy official of Putuo District, Shanghai, went on trial at the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court for taking bribes exceeding RMB 15,000,000 (US$ 2,380,952).
In exchange for the foregoing bribes, Chen is alleged to have abused his power during his term as the deputy chief of Songjiang District, Shanghai to secure construction contracts for the bribers and provide illegal assistance in connection with the company registration and the land trading business of the bribers.
(2) On February 11, 2012, the dismissal of Gu Junshan (“Gu”), senior officer of People’s Liberation Army was confirmed by an official source.
Gu, a former lieutenant general, was reported to have abused his powers by purchasing up-market real estate in downtown Shanghai for a price significantly lower than the market price and later selling the same property to private real estate developers in exchange for a tidy profit.
(3) On February 19, 2012, Yang Yiming (“Yang”), former deputy chief of Chinese Football Association (“CFA”), was sentenced to 10 years and 6 months in prison for allegedly taking bribes of RMB 1,254,000 (US$ 200,000). On the same day, Zhang Jianqiang (“Zhang”), former chairman of China Football Association Referee Commission, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for allegedly taking bribes of RMB 2,730,000 (US$ 433,000).
Both Yang and Zhang were exempted from facing the more serious charge of taking bribes as state functionaries, despite earlier debate that their positions in the CFA may have qualified them as state staff members. Under PRC law, state functionaries face much tougher penalties for taking bribes than those who are not civil servants. Officials taking bribes can be sentenced to death for the most serious offenses, while the maximum sentence for non-state officials committing bribery is five years plus set prison terms.
The owner of the football club, Xu Hongta, that purportedly offered the bribes to the convicted, received a one year suspended sentence.
(4) On February 20, 2012, Liu Yuncai (“Liu”), vice mayor of Xiangxiang City in China’s Hunan province was sentenced to 15 years in prison for allegedly taking bribes worth approximately RMB 1,940,000 (US$ 318,000). Liu was also fined RMB 150,000 (US$ 23,810) and was required to forfeit all of his ill-gotten gains.
The charges alleged that during Liu’a term as a state official in charge of urban construction and utilities supply, he sought kickbacks from contractors and real estate developers in exchange for improper benefits.
(5) Li Bingchun (“Li”), former bailiff of Liqiao County, Shunyi District, Beijing, was arrested on February 23, 2012 for allegedly taking bribes and embezzling money in a total amount exceeding RMB 38,700,000 (US$ 6,142,857).
During Li’s term as the bailiff of Liqiao County, he purportedly fabricated demolishing property to obtain demolition compensation exceeding RMB 20,000,000 (US$ 3,174,603).
In addition to the foregoing, Li allegedly received bribes in the form of pre-paid bank cards and gold bars and embezzled public funds in the total amount exceeding RMB 178,000,000 (US$ 18,253,968).
Further to a January 2012 announcement by the PRC’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate (“SPP”) that it would intensify its investigation and prosecution of anti-corruption and anti-bribery cases, on February 16, 2012, the SPP announced the launch of a nation-wide online database recording individuals and companies convicted of bribery, which can be used for public inquiries and cross-regional investigations into bribery cases. Prior to this, there was no such national listing.