An Official Obtained $1.44 Billion in Illicit Assets in Poverty-Stricken Area of China
A low-level official from Gansu Province had raked in 9.2 billion yuan ($1.44 billion) from his graft crimes, according to a May 14 report by Chinese business publication Caixin Weekly. When his property was confiscated, two truckloads-full of cultural relics and antiques—purchased with money he had obtained illegally—were found in his home.
When investigators from the Chinese Communist Party’s anti-corruption agency confiscated his home, they found that Lei Zhiqiang, former chairman of the Rural Credit Cooperative (an agency that issues credit) of Gansu Province, lived a very extravagant life, an insider source told Caixin Weekly.
The source said that Beijing’s top officials were shocked that such a serious corruption could be committed by a low-level official in Gansu Province, an economically underdeveloped area located in northwestern China.
During the investigation, Lei himself revealed that he had obtained more than 200 million yuan ($31.3 million) of illicit money, which had not yet been investigated by authorities. The grand total of 9 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) was hidden among financial accounts that were not under his name, according to the Caixin report.
Charges against Lei were brought by the Qingyang City prosecutor’s office in February. The prosecutor’s office alleged that Lei used his public post to accept huge amounts of bribes, amassing assets of unknown origin.
Lei Zhiqiang, born in February 1958 in Wushan County, Gansu Province, was previously deputy mayor of Tianshui City, secretary of the city’s party committee, and director of the finance bureau. The Party’s anti-corruption agency announced that Lei was under investigation in April 2017.
NTD staff member Li Ming contributed to this report.