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Court upholds life sentence in graft case
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A court has upheld the life imprisonment sentence handed down to the former secretary of Shanghai's sacked Party chief Chen Liangyu, Caijing magazine said on its website on Friday.

The Jilin Provincial High People's Court rejected the appeal of 43-year-old Qin Yu despite his insistence he deserved a lesser sentence.

Qin argued that as well as freely confessing his involvement in the 3.7 billion yuan ($502 million) social security fund embezzlement scandal, he provided a lot of information to aid the investigation, which toppled his boss Chen Liangyu.

The high court, however, was unconvinced, and on Thursday upheld the life sentence verdict reached by the Changchun Intermediate People' Court on September 25 this year, the report said.

Before becoming Chen's secretary in 1995, Qin worked as a university professor.

He was made head of the Baoshan district government shortly before the investigation into the social security fund scandal officially began in July 2006.

At his first trial, Qin was found guilty of taking bribes totaling 6.8 million yuan from Zhang Rongkun, the former chairman of the Feidian Investment Company.

Zhang was the first person to be arrested in the scandal, which was exposed more than a year ago.

It later brought down several high-ranking officials including the former Shanghai Party chief, Chen.

He is the highest-ranking Party official to be axed in more than a decade.

Zhang's case is still pending.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated case, on Thursday, Wang Chengming, the former chairman of Shanghai Electric Group Co and former president of Shanghai SVA (Group) Co Ltd, was given the death penalty with a reprieve for his involvement in collective embezzlement and taking bribes.

While he was president of Shanghai SVA, Wang and two other senior business executives, Yan Jinbao and Lu Tianming, pocketed more than 300 million yuan from illegal land transfer deals in Shanghai, a statement by the Changchun Intermediate People's Court said.

Yan was sentenced to life imprisonment and Lu was given 15 years, the Caijing website said.

(Xinhua News Agency December 22, 2007)

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