November 30, 2016 / 11:18 AM / 3 years ago

Chinese court tries former senior provincial official for graft

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has put a former provincial Communist Party boss on trial for bribery, a court said on Wednesday, making him the latest senior official tried in a crackdown on corruption.

Zhou Benshun was the top official in the province of Hebei, which surrounds Beijing and is China’s most important steel producer.

He had earlier worked with one-time domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, who was jailed for life in 2015 after a secret trial in China’s most sensational graft scandal in 70 years.

The intermediate court in the southern city of Xiamen said on its official microblog that prosecutors had accused Zhou Benshun of using various posts in Hebei, and also Hunan province, to assist with promotions and facilitate loans and property deals for several companies and individuals.

Between 2003 and 2015, Zhou and his family received more than 40 million yuan ($5.8 million) in funds and goods, it said.

“Zhou Benshun gave a closing statement and admitted his crimes and expressed his regret to the court,” it said, adding that a verdict would be announced later.

The party’s corruption watchdog handed his case over to legal authorities last year.

The Hebei city of Zhangjiakou this year won the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympics along with Beijing. Zhou had attended meetings of the bid committee.

Zhou became party chief in Hebei in 2013. He had worked for five years in the Central Politics and Law Commission as its secretary general, under Zhou Yongkang.

The two are not related.

President Xi Jinping, who doubles as party and military chief, has pursued a relentless campaign against deep-rooted corruption since assuming power three years ago, vowing to go after powerful “tigers” as well as lowly “flies”.

Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Robert Birsel

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