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China jails for life former top secret police official

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By Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) – A Chinese court on Thursday jailed for life a former high-ranking secret police official for taking bribes, “coercive” business deals and insider trading, the court said.

Ma Jian, once a vice minister at the Ministry of State Security, is one of the most senior security officials to be jailed since the former domestic security tsar Zhou Yongkang was ensnared in a graft scandal and jailed for life in 2015.

Ma’s case is linked to that of China’s most wanted fugitive, exiled tycoon Guo Wengui, who lives in New York and has courted international attention with his explosive claims about the leadership of the ruling Communist Party.

The Dalian Intermediate People’s Court said in a statement on its website that it had reached the verdict on the grounds that Ma had taken a “particularly enormous” amount of bribes, and that his collaboration with Guo’s company were “particularly serious”.

Ma had used his position to conspire with Guo and to help businesses Guo controlled by using threats to bring about illegal transactions such as compelling individuals to transfer company shares, the court said.

Ma had received more than 100 million yuan (11.5 million pounds) in property for his work and earned nearly 5 million yuan from trading stocks based on insider information, the court said.

Ma said that he accepted the ruling and would not appeal, according to the court said.

It was not possible to contact Ma for comment. Guo could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ma was put under investigation for corruption in 2015 and expelled from the Communist Party the following year after prosecutors accused him of interfering in unspecified law enforcement activities.

Dozens of senior officials have been investigated or jailed since President Xi Jinping assumed power in 2012, vowing to root out corruption and warning that the problem threatens the Communist Party’s grip on power.

The powerful state security ministry spies on its citizens and foreigners domestically and internationally. It is one of the most opaque agencies in China and does not have a public website or spokesman.

(Reporting by Christian Shepherd and Beijing Monitoring Desk)