Mistress of corrupt China official sentenced to 5 years for helping facilitate bribery

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A Chinese court has sentenced the mistress of a disgraced former railway official to five years in prison for aiding his bribe-taking as Beijing widens a campaign against corruption to include lovers accused of involvement in the wrongdoing, state media reported Wednesday.

Former professional singer Luo Fei had pleaded guilty at her trial last year of helping her lover Zhang Shuguang hide almost 2 million yuan ($330,000) in bribes, the Beijing Legal Evening News and other newspapers said.

The reports said Luo opted not to appeal. Calls to Beijing's No.2 Intermediate People's Court where Luo was tried rang unanswered Wednesday.

China has long cited the keeping of mistresses as an incentive for corruption, since public officials can rarely afford to do have a mistress on a civil servant's salary. Major corruption cases often include accusations of a "lascivious lifestyle," and rumors circulate frequently on what famous entertainers or television personalities may be involved with high officials.

However, mistresses had usually gotten off merely by returning plundered funds, and the official China Daily newspaper cited legal experts saying Luo's case may set a precedent for prosecutions of those who abetted corruption.

Zhang was formerly the deputy chief engineer for the now-defunct Railway Ministry. He was convicted in October of taking nearly $8 million in bribes and given a suspended death sentence.

That came more than a year after former Railway Minister Liu Zhijun was convicted of corruption and also received a suspended death sentence as part of a broader anti-graft campaign under President Xi Jinping.

Scores of officials have been ensnared in the campaign, with Zhu Mingguo, head of the chief government advisory body in Guangdong province, and Sui Fengfu, a deputy in the provincial legislature in Heilongjiang province, the latest to be named.