07/21/2015, 00.00
CHINA
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Ling Jihua, aide to retired President Hu Jintao, faces prosecution on corruption charges

The politburo accuses Ling of badly harming the party's image and having a "terrible" effect on society. Ling or his family are accused of taking large bribes, and illegally acquiring a large amount of “core secrets”.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Ling Jihua, a senior aide to former President Hu Jintao, has been expelled from the Communist Party and will be prosecuted on charges of corruption, China’s official press agency Xinhua reported yesterday. Last December, China’s Communist Party had announced an investigation into Ling.

The statement was released after a meeting of the Politburo blaming Ling for crimes that had done major damage to the party's image and had had a "terrible" effect on society.

Ling or his family are accused of taking large bribes and seeking profits for his close allies, Xinhua said. He is also accused of illegally acquiring a large amount of “core secrets” from party and state.

In addition, Hu’s former aide was accused of seeking benefits for his wife, trading his power for sex and having improper relationships with several women.

“Ling’s behaviour is a complete deviation from the party’s tenets. He has severely violated party rules, and brought huge damage to the party’s image,” the news agency said.

In a separate statement, also carried by Xinhua, the state prosecutor said that it had approved Ling's arrest and formally begun to build a legal case against him.

Until a few years ago, Ling was considered a rising star, but his career suffered a blow when his son Ling Gu lost his life in 2012 car accident. Driving at high speed through the streets of Beijing, the young Ling crashed a Ferrari. When he was found, he was half-naked with two young women, one naked and the other half-naked.

For China’s current rulers, Ling’s case is quite delicate because of his close relationship with Xi Jinping’s predecessor, retired President Hu Jintao.

Thus, it is expected that Ling’s trial will take place in secret, as was the case with Zhou Yongkang, China’s former powerful national security czar, who was tried behind closed doors because state secrets were involved in his prosecution.

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