Former Chinese security chief charged with corruption
Top official to be probed under anti-corruption drive charged with bribery, abuse of power, disclosure of state secrets.

China’s former security chief Zhou Yongkang has been formally charged with bribery, abuse of power and intentional disclosure of state secrets, the Supreme People's Procuratorate announced Friday.

Zhou is the highest-ranking official to be investigated under President Xi Jingping’s anti-corruption drive.

Official news agency Xinhua cited the indictment as saying that Zhou had taken advantage of his posts to offer interests to others, illegally receiving a large amount of money and property.

It added that Zhou's abuse of power had led to grave losses of public property and "bad" impacts on society.

He also stands accused of the "particularly serious" act of intentionally disclosing state secrets.

A statement released by the Procuratorate said prosecutors at the Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People's Court in northern Tianjin city informed Zhou on Friday of his litigation rights, questioned him and heard his lawyers’ comments.

As secretary of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee from 2007 until his retirement in 2012, Zhou had overseen China's police, intelligence agencies, court system and paramilitary forces.

Last July, he was placed under investigation for suspected serious disciplinary violations by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. In December, he was arrested, expelled from the Communist Party of China and placed under investigation by the top prosecuting department.

The state-run China Daily cited a media report that claimed Zhou’s son Zhou Bin had accumulated a large amount of wealth as a result of his father's influence in the gasoline industry.

In one case, the son had allegedly sold an oilfield -- bought from the China National Petroleum Corporation for less than 20 million yuan ($3.2 million) -- for 550 million yuan.

Zhou – previously a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's top decision-making body – is said to have links with Xu Caihou, the former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission who died from cancer last month, as well as Bo Xilai, the disgraced party boss in Chongqing who was sentenced to life imprisonment last year on bribery charges.

According to reports in the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, the younger Zhou also had ties to tycoon Liu Han, who was among five members of a "mafia-style gang” executed in February. Liu was a former chairman of the Hanlong Group, the largest private enterprise in southwest Sichuan province, the region that formed Zhou’s power base.

Since its launch in 2013, Xi’s anti-corruption campaign has investigated tens of thousands of suspects, including dozens of high-profile individuals at the top of the Communist Party.

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Last Modified: 2015-04-03 08:32:42
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