A Chinese court has sentenced Fu Zhenghua, a former minister of justice, to death for embezzling $16 million with a two-year reprieve.
According to AA News, Changchun’s Intermediate People’s Court in the northeastern Chinese province of Jilin found 67-year-old Fu guilty.
According to the court’s decision, the death penalty may be commuted after serving two years in jail.
Between 2005 and 2021, Fu, who held the office of minister of justice from March 2018 to April 2020, is accused of “taking advantage” of his position, including collecting bribes totaling more than 117 million yuan (about $16.76 million), and “bending the law for personal benefits.”
The court reportedly took all of Fu’s personal belongings and permanently revoked his political rights, according to the newspaper.
“After the two-year reprieve for his death sentence, Fu’s sentence can be commuted to life in prison in accordance with the law, but no further reduction or parole shall be given to him,” according to the court ruling, as quoted by the Chinese public broadcaster CGTN.
He served as the director of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, vice minister of public safety, minister of justice, and deputy chairman of the committee on social and legal affairs of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
The court found that while in charge of the Beijing Public Security Bureau between 2014 and 2015, Fu had withheld information regarding an alleged major crime committed by his brother Fu Weihua.
“This concealment allowed Fu Weihua to avoid prosecution for a long time,” the court stated in its verdict.
“The sum of bribes Fu had taken was huge, and he committed particularly serious crimes, which caused a heavy loss to the interests of the state and people and also had a particularly bad social impact,” it added.
However, court noted that Fu who was assigned to the Committee on Social and Legal Affairs of the National Committee of the CPPCC after having served as justice minister last year, received a “lenient sentence” as he “confessed to all his crimes and pled guilty during the investigation, provided clues for important cases, and had been cooperative in returning his illegal gains.”