A development zone official in a south China city was sentenced to death over land-related corruption cases involving more than 125 million yuan (19.69 million US dollars) over the past six years.
Zheng Niansheng, head of the Mingzhen Management Committee in the city of Foshan, was convicted of embezzlement and bribery charges by the Intermediate People's Court of Foshan. He was given a two-year stay of execution and ordered to surrender all personal assets, court officials said Thursday.
Zheng was found to have embezzled more than 100 million yuan earmarked for relocation compensation from an overseas-registered real estate company in a housing project in Foshan last May. Zheng also pocketed 4 million yuan in bribes from company officials benefiting from the embezzlement, the court found.
In his previous positions, Zheng was also found to have accepted bribes worth 9 million yuan and 12 million yuan in two separate cases after he helped a village official and a businessman, respectively, gain illegal land use rights in 2005 and 2011.
Foshan is among a dozen booming factory towns in Guangdong province, a hub of export-oriented manufacturing businesses and a relatively affluent region where land deals under local officials' watch usually involve large amounts of money.
Court officials said Zheng vocally opposed the ruling in court but it remains unclear whether he will appeal.