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Wednesday
Sep242014

Top China planning official admits bribes from Toyota JV and others

A former top official in China's powerful central planning agency confessed in court Wednesday to taking bribes from various companies, including a Toyota Motor Corporation joint venture.

Liu Tienan, 59, was once deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). He was fired in May last year from his ministerial-level post.

He was charged with his son, Liu Decheng, with taking $5.8 million in bribes.

Liu is one of the highest-profile officials to be prosecuted for corruption under President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign.

The NDRC sets broad economic policies and approves major investments.

Liu had also served as head of the National Energy Administration.

"The oral representation made by the defendant Liu Tienan on the allegations is: I have taken the initiative to confess to the facts of the allegations," the court said.

The trial is being held in Langfang city in Hebei province, near Beijing.

Liu was fired from the NDRC after a former mistress told a journalist at Caijing magazine he had defrauded banks out of $200 million and taken massive bribes. The journalist published the allegations on his blog in late 2012.

At his trial, prosecutors accused Liu of taking bribes related to approvals for petrochemical projects and for a dealership for GAC Toyota Motor, a joint venture between GAC Group and Toyota.

Toyota's corporate office in Japan hasn't commented on the story.

Liu could face the death penalty if convicted of corruption. He's more likely to receive a lesser sentence because of his confession.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.