China seizes record $33 million in cash from official’s home

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Chinese prosecutors said they seized a record 200 million yuan ($33 million) in cash from the home of a former energy official accused of taking bribes.
The confiscation from Wei Pengyuan’s residence was the biggest in an anti-corruption raid since the Communist Party took power in China in 1949, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said in a statement on its website yesterday, citing Xu Jinhui, chief anti-graft prosecutor in a press conference.
Investigators wore out four of 16 cash-counting machines used to measure the haul, the Chinese online business publication Caixin said in May, when the government first disclosed the probe. China’s largest cash denomination is the 100 yuan note, worth about $16.
President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign has sought to net both “tigers and flies,” meaning officials of high and low rank. It has ensnared officials nationwide, including Zhou Yongkang, the nation’s former security chief. Xi has called corruption as the greatest threat to the party’s grip on power.
The government said in May that Wei, a former deputy director of the National Energy Administration’s coal department, was under investigation for alleged corruption. Other NEA officials, including the agency’s deputy head and the chief of its electricity division, were being probed, the official Xinhua News Agency said at the time.

A file photo of Wei Pengyuan, a former deputy director of China's National Energy Administration’s coal department.
The NEA is the government body that supervises China’s energy industry. Its former minister, Liu Tienan, has been accused by prosecutors of securing a phantom job for his son in return for brokering deals and helping obtain project approvals.
Eleven employees of the National Development and Reform Commission are under investigation for alleged corruption, six of whom received “more than tens of millions of yuan” in bribes, Xu said, according to yesterday’s statement. The NEA falls under the jurisdiction of the NDRC, China’s top economic planning body.

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