Ex-China spy Ma Jian jailed for life over graft

Beijing
27 Dec 2018

Ex-China spymaster Ma Jian was jailed for life over corruption, a court in northeastern China announced Thursday.
"Ma Jian's behaviour constituted the crime of accepting bribes, forcing others to trade and insider trading," the Dalian Intermediate People's Court in Liaoning province announced in a statement.
Ma pleaded guilty and has decided not to appeal, the court said, adding that his political rights have been revoked for life and all his personal assets confiscated.
A former deputy head of China's ministry of state security, Ma was put under investigation for corruption in 2015 and expelled from the Communist Party the following year.
The hearing was held behind closed doors in August because of state secrets involved, the court said.
From 1999 to 2014, Ma used his position at the ministry to help Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui further his business interests, receiving over 109 million yuan (USD 15.9 million) in bribes, the court said, detailing several instances where the two had colluded.
In 2013, Ma engaged in insider trading through his relatives, selling some 49 million yuan worth of stocks, the court said.
The defendant Ma Jian's bribery amount was extremely large, and the national and people's interests suffered a particularly heavy loss, which seriously infringed on the integrity of civil servants," the court said in its judgement.
Ma's fall from grace was precipitated by a sweeping investigation into other figures in China's security apparatus, most notably Zhou Yongkang who was responsible for the security ministry and Ma's boss in 2012.
The ministry of state security is often described as China's equivalent of the Soviet Union's much-feared KGB and is said to be responsible for intelligence gathering and surveillance.
Guo, who was repeatedly named in the court's statement, is now a fugitive living in New York since he fled China in 2014.
A controversial character, he has been an outspoken critic of the Communist government, making allegations of high-level corruption against officials on his Twitter page.
The billionaire is also facing a lawsuit in the United States where nine creditors are suing him for over USD 50 million in outstanding debt  (AFP)