May 11, 2017 / 9:40 AM / 2 years ago

China's former statistics chief pleads guilty to accepting bribes

Wang Baoan attends a news conference in Beijing, China, in this January 13, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - The former head of China’s statistics bureau has pleaded guilty to accepting the equivalent of $22 million in bribes, a court said on Thursday, the latest official to be brought down in President Xi Jinping’s war on corruption.

Wang Baoan, also accused of “exchanging power for sex”, accepted the bribes between 1994 and 2016, abusing his power while chief of China’s National Bureau of Statistics and in other senior government positions, the Zhangjiakou Intermediate People’s Court heard.

Wang admitted his guilt and expressed regret, the court said in a statement, adding it would sentence him at a later date.

The bribes, totaling 154.28 million yuan ($22.35 million), were accepted directly or through relatives in exchange for favors for third parties, including securing project approvals or job appointments.

Wang was deputy finance minister from 2012 until April 2015, when he took up the post of statistics bureau chief.

China’s anti-corruption agency, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), first investigated Wang in January last year.

In a statement in August last year announcing Wang’s expulsion from the Communist Party, the CCDI said Wang had been found to have been “morally bankrupt” and lacking “political faith”.

As well as accepting gifts, property and bribes, he frequently stayed at expensive hotels, engaged in “superstitious activities” and “exchanged power for sex”, the agency said in the statement.

Xi has conducted a sweeping campaign to root out deeply ingrained corruption, warning that the problem is so bad it could affect the ruling Communist Party’s grip on power.

Reporting by Philip Wen; Editing by Nick Macfie

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