A court in China on Thursday sentenced a former justice minister to death for over $16 million in corruption, with a two-year reprieve.
Fu Zhenghua, 67, was found guilty by the Intermediate People's Court of Changchun in northeast China's Jilin province. The death sentence can be commuted after two years in prison, according to the court ruling.
He served as justice minister between March 2018 and April 2020.
He was accused of “taking advantage” of his position between 2005 and 2021, including accepting bribes totaling more than 117 million yuan (about $16.76 million) and “bending the law for personal gains.”
The court stripped Fu of his political rights for life and confiscated all of his personal property.
“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.
The former Chinese official held positions such as head of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, vice minister of public security, minister of justice, and deputy head of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference's Committee on Social and Legal Affairs (CPPCC).
The court found that Fu had concealed evidence involving a suspected serious crime committed by his brother Fu Weihua while serving as head of the Beijing public security bureau between 2014 and 2015.
“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.
The court, however, said Fu 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.”
Fu 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.