Sacked Deputy Reform Commissioner Gets Life in Jail for Graft

Liu Tienan Found Guilty of Corrupt Industrial Project Approvals and Car Dealership Licensing

A former deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has been sentenced to life in prison for taking 35.6 million yuan (U.S.$5.8 million) in bribes between 2002 and 2012, according to a microblog post from a Langfang court in Hebei province.

In handing down the ruling on December 10, the Langfang Intermediate People's Court said that Liu Tienan was given a lenient sentence for confessing voluntarily to taking 18.75 million yuan in bribes, initially overlooked by police, in four cases.

The court said that Liu, 59, on numerous occasions while serving in various government posts—including as head of the NDRC's Department of Industry—sought personal gain by trading his influence in the approval of highly regulated industrial projects and licensing of lucrative car dealerships.

(, fair use)
Liu Tienan

Together with his son, Liu received a total of 35.6 million yuan from five companies, including Nanshan Group Co. Ltd, based in Shandong province, and Zhejiang Hengyi Group Co. Ltd.

The trial of his son, Liu Decheng, is pending.

As reported earlier in Caixin, between 2002 and 2003 Liu accepted 40,000 yuan in bribes from Nanshan Group for approving an alloy project while he was Director of the industry development department under the now-defunct National Development Planning Commission.

He also helped Ningbo Zhongjin Chemical Co. win approval of a paraxylene plant from the NDRC from April to July 2005, prosecutors said. In September that year, Zhongjin Chairman Sun Yongen bought Liu's son a luxury car worth 335,000 yuan.

Court documents also stated that Liu helped Zhang Aibin, a major shareholder of a car service company in Beijing, set up a dealership with GAC Toyota Motor Co. Zhang gave Liu's son a 30 percent stake in a new company and later allowed him to cash in 10 million yuan in a share buy-back.

The jurisdiction of Liu's case was set in Hebei's city of Langfang instead of Beijing in accordance with an ad-hoc arrangement at the Supreme People's Court aimed at avoiding potential obstruction of justice.

Commentators noted a strain of irony in Liu's court hearings when the defendant proposed that the central government should move to decentralize administrative approvals to prevent abuse of power. In a bid for leniency, he also suggested the government have a system in place to prevent officials from meddling in the market.

Liu was sacked as the Director of the National Energy Administration in March 2013 and expelled from the Party five months later. His investigation led an upheaval of top leadership at the administration from several officials later put under corruption probes.

At least five senior officials from NDRC's Department of Price are now under investigation for corruption, calling into question governance practices at the NDRC and its role in the oversight of the market.