A former top economic official in China was convicted on bribery charges Wednesday in one of the Chinese government’s most high-profile anti-corruption cases to date. Liu Tienan was sentenced to life in prison by a Chinese court in north China’s Hebei province, according to a report by Xinhua.
The verdict was delivered after months of deliberation by the court, which ruled that Liu “took advantage of his post to seek gains for others.” Liu had been accused of accepting bribes of 35.6 million yuan ($5.8 million) in return for granting favors to individuals and businesses, including the chemical firm Nanshan Group. The court ruled that Liu had been accepting the bribes from 2002 to 2012 and that his son Liu Decheng was also involved in securing the money.
The allegations against Liu came after his mistress, known only as Xu, contacted Luo Changping, the deputy editor of a Chinese business magazine, with information about shady business deals, reported the South China Morning Post. Luo reported the accusations on his Weibo account, leading to a formal investigation by the Communist Party’s anti-corruption watchdog.
Liu had been one of the top economic planners in China’s government before his ouster from office in August 2013. At the time, he was one of the most senior officials to be detained in the corruption crackdown launched by President Xi Jingping, who vowed to tackle the issue after coming into office, according to the BBC.
As popular as Xi’s anti-graft campaign is with the Chinese public, it has not been effective, according to a Transparency International report cited by the Washington Post. The anti-corruption watchdog reported that China had fallen further down its list than any other country, dropping 20 places since last year's report. The East Asian country is currently at 100th place on the list of 175 countries.