China official jailed for taking bribes from GOME founder

BEIJING, July 23, 2010 (AFP) - A former top Chinese police official has received a 12-year jail term for graft including taking a million yuan (147,500 dollars) in bribes from a jailed electronics magnate, an official website said Friday.

A Beijing court convicted Xiang Huaizhu of accepting a total of more than two million yuan in cash and luxury cars while serving as the deputy head of the public security ministry's economic crimes department.

The bribes included more than one million yuan from Huang Guangyu, the jailed founder of the GOME electronics chain, who was once China's richest man, according to the news website of the state prosecutor's office.

Huang gave the bribes in exchange for Xiang's "assistance" in the course of investigations into GOME and a real estate company owned by the magnate between 2006 and 2008.

It did not give further details of Xiang's role in the GOME case.

Xiang's wife, Li Shanjuan, who worked in the ministry's auditing department, was also sentenced to 19 months in jail.

Huang was sentenced in May to 14 years in jail for bribery and insider trading -- a spectacular fall from grace for a high school dropout who built up his retail empire from scratch.