The former head of China’s energy agency was sentenced to life imprisonment for taking 36 million yuan ($5.8 million) in bribes to approve projects, a Chinese court said.
Liu Tienan, 60, who ran the National Energy Administration, admitted to taking a lesser sum of 19 million yuan, according to postings on Langfang City Intermediate People’s Court’s microblog. Liu and his son Liu Decheng took the money from 2002 to 2012, and the court ruled all his personal assets be confiscated, the court said.
“Liu believes the punishment is harsh,” Li Fabao, Liu’s lawyer, said by phone immediately after the sentence was announced. “He did everything because of his son. He’s spoiled his son, and he now regrets that.”
The case of Liu Decheng, who gave testimony at his father’s trial, will be handled separately, according to the postings.
Liu is the latest “tiger” to be punished in President Xi Jinping’s two-year anti-corruption campaign to bolster his power base and curb the graft that he’s warned could erode the party’s legitimacy. More than 80,000 officials have been punished for breaking party rules, the top graft-fighting agency the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said last week.
Liu was also former deputy head of the National Development and reform Commission, China’s top planning body, until he was stripped of his position in May 2013. The agency approves infrastructure projects and controls energy prices.
The successful prosecution of Liu vindicates public claims made against him by a journalist months before his downfall from a ministry with control over a vast swathe of the economy and energy prices. Luo Changping, deputy managing editor of Caijing Magazine, posted allegations on his Weibo microblog in December 2012 saying Liu exaggerated his academic credentials and that his son received payments in U.S. and Canadian dollars into bank accounts from a business executive.