[Above (from left): Wang Yi, the former vice-president of China Development Bank; Liu Fangfei, anchor for China Central Television; and Zhao Wei, film actress.]
BEIJING: Two female celebrities and a large amount of money were the star attractions in Tuesday's bribery trial of Wang Yi, former vice-president of State-run China Development Bank.
Wang, who stood trial at the Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court, pleaded guilty to the charge of accepting bribes of more than 11.96 million yuan (S$2.451 million), and confessed that he "used his power and his influence to make profit for others and himself".
No verdict was reached.
However during the trial testimony by Li Tao, a businessman from Hong Kong who bribed Wang with 5 million yuan, unexpectedly named two famous celebrities - movie star Zhao Wei, and the anchor of China Central Television, Liu Fangfei, the Beijing Evening News reported.
Li, who has also been arrested, said that years ago he invited Wang to attend an opening ceremony for his company in Shenzhen in South China. Zhao arrived with Wang and was later given a 300,000 yuan ($43,944) "appearance fee", the report said.
Zhao's agent, Chen Rong, denied Li's remarks.
"Zhao did attend an activity in Shenzhen 10 years ago, but it was completely a commercial event, just like a commercial performance. We were invited by a public relations company and we do not know Wang or Li at all," Chen told Sina.com, a popular online portal.
Li said Wang also asked him to give Liu 2 million yuan ($292,960) so that Liu could pay off her housing loan. In 2008, Wang then asked Liu to give the money back to Li when the police started to investigate his case, according to the report.
Liu could not be reached for comment on Tuesday because her mobile phone was switched off.
According to charges brought by the No 1 branch of the Beijing Municipal People's Procuratorate, Wang received all of his bribes by helping others to get loans.
He helped Li get a loan for a highway construction project and received about 5 million yuan ($732,402) in return.
Wang also allegedly took advantage of his post to help Zhou Hong, chief executive of a steel slag company in Southwest China's Yunnan province, with business operations and loan applications, in which he received bribes of 6.3 million yuan.
Wang, 54, had an impressive career path before he was investigated for possible corruption. He graduated from the history department of Peking University in 1984.
At the age of 39, he became the vice-chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commission and he was vice-president of the China Development Bank from 1999 to 2008, when he was investigated and removed from his post.
Wang is one of eight ministerial-level officials being investigated for corruption last year. Others include Huang Songyou, former vice-president of the Supreme People's Court, and Chen Shaoji, former top political adviser of Guangdong province in South China.
-China Daily/Asia News Network