Beijing Olympics Bribery Official Sentenced to Death

The official in charge of building Beijing's Olympic Games venues and other construction worth about $55 billion has been sentenced to death for taking $1.45 million in bribes, The Australian reports.

But Liu Zhihua, aged 59, who was vice-mayor of the city when fired two years ago for corruption, will almost certainly avoid execution.

The death sentence has been suspended for two years pending "good behavior" and is likely to be commuted to life imprisonment.

State news agency Xinhua said that the court in Hengshui, in Hebei province near Beijing, was told that bribes were pocketed by Liu and his principal mistress, Wang Jianrui.

Xinhua said that "he was believed to have kept several mistresses, some of whom he reportedly helped become rich through his illegal activities".

A more senior official, Yu Youjun, was removed from the Central Committee of the ruling Communist Party nine days ago, although the reason was not spelled out.

It appears most likely that his downfall is due to accusations of corruption during his time from 2000-03 as mayor of the wealthiest city in China, Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong. He then became governor of Hunan and Shanxi provinces.

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