08/04/2008, 00.00
CHINA
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Son of former Shanghai party boss Chen Liangyu sentenced to jail

Despite corruption charges Chen Weili gets a light sentence (three years suspended). For experts, with Shanghai gang beaten, authorities are eager to close the affair, used perhaps in internal party fights.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A Tianjin court yesterday sentenced Chen Weili, son of former Shanghai Communist Party Secretary Chen Liangyu, to three years in jail for his role in the scandal over massive misuse of the city's social security fund. Chen Weili’s sentence was suspended because the accused showed ‘good behaviour’, acknowledged his faults and engaged in self-criticism.

The sentence for corruption immediately drew criticism from netizens who saw it as no different from letting him go free.  

One of the companies involved in the scandal, Huawen Investment Holding, paid Chen Weili 1 million yuan a year as “salary,” who upon his father’s request also acted as deputy general manager of the Shanghai Shenhua football club, for which he was paid 352,000 yuan.

For analysts the sentence is a sign that the authorities want to close the case after sentencing the main parties.

Media reports indicate that Chen Weili will not appeal his sentence.

His father, Chen Liangyu (photo), headed the Communist Party in Shanghai and was a member of the Politburo until September 2006 when he was sacked for his involvement in pension funds scandals that benefited financial companies.

More than 20 officials and entrepreneurs tied to the Shanghai gang have been sentenced so far, including a suspended death sentence and several sentences of life in prison.

Last April Chen was given 18 years in prison for corruption and abuse of power.

During the trial the former party boss partly acknowledged misappropriating funds, but refused to accept corruption charges.

Reports said that one of the reasons for Chen Liangyu's co-operative attitude during his trial was the hope that his son would escape prosecution.

Shanghai’s case is the biggest corruption scandal since 1995 when Beijing Mayor Chen Xitong was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

For many Chen’s fall marks the victory of the new Chinese leadership under President Hu Jintao against the group led by his predecessor Jiang Zemin, Chen’s protector.

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