The top aide to former Chinese president Hu Jintao has been sentenced to life in prison on convictions of taking bribes, illegally obtaining state secrets and abusing powers.

The official Xinhua News Agency said a Tianjin court delivered the verdict Monday against Ling Jihua after trials held behind closed doors, apparently because the case involved state secrets. He was formally indicted in May.

Ling headed the ruling's Communist Party's general office under Hu, a position comparable to chief of staff to the U.S. president. Ling was considered a consummate political insider.

Ling fell out of political favor in 2012, just ahead of a once-in-decade power transition, when he was allegedly involved in the cover-up of his son's death in a speeding Ferrari.

He came under investigation in late 2014.