China brings graft charges against general

BEIJING (AP)

Chinese prosecutors brought corruption charges Monday against a top general, state media reported, in a case highlighting abuse of power in the country’s vast military.

The Xinhua News Agency said a military prosecutor charged Lt. Gen. Gu Junshan with embezzlement, bribery, misuse of state funds and abuse of power. It gave no word on when or where a trial would be held.

Gu had been deputy head of the People’s Liberation Army’s General Logistics Department, a position offering him wide-ranging powers over procurement and contracts for the 2.3 milllion-member armed forces.

Gu’s prosecution had been expected for months after investigators last year hauled away four truckloads of alleged plunder including gold statues and cases of high-end liquor from one of his mansions.

Gu has not been seen since early 2012 and his name has been removed from the official Defense Ministry website.

According to media reports, Gu lined his pockets through huge kickbacks received over the transfer of military-owned land in premium locations throughout China.

In Shanghai, Gu allegedly received a 6 percent kickback for a military plot that fetched more than 2 billion yuan ($330 million), and in his hometown of Puyang, his family was known for land grabs and real estate developments, the business magazine Caixin said.

In Puyang, Gu’s family built seven riverside villas for Gu and his siblings, including one modeled on the former imperial palace in Beijing boasting a fountain, a garden with winding covered corridors, and living quarters for butlers and servants, it said.

China has for years sought to clean up corruption that has been seen as weakening the military’s moral and fighting ability. The armed forces were ordered to give up most of their business interests more than a decade ago, but a culture of opacity, authoritarianism and bribery has continued to lead to abuses.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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