Court told 5.5m yuan paid to win the league

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 Lu Jun, the best-known Chinese referee who had officiated World Cup and Olympic Games, is brought to court in Dandong, on charges of 'taking bribes as non-state staff' later on Wednesday. []

Lu Jun, the best-known Chinese referee who had officiated World Cup and Olympic Games, is brought to court in Dandong, on charges of "taking bribes as non-state staff" later on Wednesday. []

Shanghai Shenhua Football Club paid 5.5 million yuan (US$867,400) to win a derby match in 2003 and secure that year's league championship, a court heard yesterday as trials over corruption in Chinese soccer entered their third day.

Lu Jun, China's World Cup referee, was giving evidence at the Intermediate People's Court of Dandong in northeastern Liaoning Province yesterday about his role in soccer corruption.

The 52-year-old said he took 350,000 yuan to help Shenhua beat Shanghai International 4-1 in the Jia-A League. Zhang Jianqiang, the former director of the Chinese Football Association's referee committee, was the middleman between Lu and Shenhua and took another 350,000 yuan, Lu said.

On Monday, Zhang admitted taking more than 2.7 million yuan in bribes.

Prosecutors yesterday said Shenhua paid a total of 5.5 million yuan in bribes to ensure it won the derby match. The whereabouts of the remainder of the money was still under investigation.

Shanghai International had been leading Shenhua and the league by two points before the match.

Lu was charged with taking 810,000 yuan in bribes to rig seven matches between 1999 and 2003, the court said. He received 710,000 yuan from clubs to help them win and earned the other 100,000 yuan for acting as a middleman, the court heard.

In the last round of the Jia-A league in 1999, Lu worked as a middleman to help Shenyang Haishi bribe Guangzhou Songri to lose a match against Tianjin Teda FC so Shenyang could avoid relegation.

Before the last round of the league, Shenyang were two points behind Guangzhou, and could only stay in the league if it won the last round and Guangzhou lost.

Guangzhou lost 2-3 to Tianjin while Shenyang beat Chongqing 2-1 and stayed up. Guangzhou were relegated.

Lu's lawyer entered a not guilty plea but Lu admitted the charges and turned in 810,000 yuan.

Lu said he did not have direct contact with teams. Usually a middleman would ask him to "take care" of a team, indicating helping it to win, and Lu would answer: "I got it," the court heard.

The trial ended at noon but no sentence was announced.

Meanwhile, Yang Yimin, 55, former deputy director of the China Football Association, went on trial yesterday in the Intermediate People's Court of Tieling in Liaoning.

 Yang Yimin was brought to court on Wednesday morning.

Yang Yimin was brought to court on Wednesday morning.

He was accused of taking 16 bribes worth more than 1.25 million yuan during his time in the association. In one case, he was paid US$10,000 dollars by Jiangsu Shuntian club for helping its players to pass the association's physical tests. Besides cash, Yang also took bribes of luxury Chinese medicine and help for his children go to a good school.

A tearful Yang, his hair turned white since his arrest, told the court: "I'm sorry to my post, my career, the soccer fans, my Party and my country. I know I was wrong and I'm willing to do anything to make up."

Yang was regarded as one of the "big three" in the football association along with Xie Yalong and Nan Yong, who were also arrested for corruption. Xie and Nan also face trial this week.

The court didn't announce a sentence in Yang's case yesterday.

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