China jails businesswoman in railway graft case for 20 years

A Beijing court sentenced a well-known businesswoman, who had ties to a disgraced former railways minister, to 20 years in jail on Tuesday for corruption, saying she was guilty of bribery and illegally running a business.

Reuters| Updated: Dec 16, 2014, 10:26 AM IST

Beijing: A Beijing court sentenced a well-known businesswoman, who had ties to a disgraced former railways minister, to 20 years in jail on Tuesday for corruption, saying she was guilty of bribery and illegally running a business.

Ding Yuxin, also known as Ding Shumiao, helped 23 businesses win railway construction contracts and funnelled 49 million yuan ($8 million) worth of kickbacks to former railways minister Liu Zhijun, state media has previously reported.

She also "offered sexual favours to Liu by arranging an unidentified number of women for him", the official China Daily reported last year.

In a brief statement carried on its microblog, the Beijing court said that the evidence in the case against her was clear, ordering she also pay a fine of 2.5 billion yuan and have assets worth 20 million yuan confiscated.

It gave no other details.

Ding had humble beginnings as an egg seller but over three decades built a business empire with interests in the coal business as well as China`s high-speed rail system.

Officials began an inquiry into Ding when an auditing authority found a state-owned enterprise paid nearly 100 million yuan to her company, state media has said.

After a high-profile trial last year, Liu received a suspended death sentence, a punishment that usually amounts to life in prison, for taking bribes and steering contracts to associates.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has embarked on a high-profile campaign against deep-seated graft since assuming office two years ago, warning, like others before him, that the ruling Communist Party`s very survival is at stake.

China`s Railways Ministry suffered a major blow to its image when a 2011 crash between two bullet trains killed 40 people.

Funding high-speed train lines has left China`s railway system mired in debt.