Former official gets six-year prison term

(China Daily)     Updated : 2020-08-28

Yao Jinqi, the first civil servant extradited from EU state, accepted millions in bribes

The first former civil servant China extradited from a European Union member state was sentenced to six years in prison for taking more than 52 million yuan ($7.5 million) in bribes.

The Shaoxing Intermediate People's Court in Zhejiang province announced its ruling on Thursday against Yao Jinqi, former deputy head of the province's Xinchang county, who was also fined 3 million yuan and agreed to forfeit his illicit gains and the interest earned on them.

Yao, who was extradited from Bulgaria on Nov 30, 2018, said he agreed with the conviction and sentence and would not appeal to a higher court.

His case was also the first successful extradition following the establishment of the National Supervision Commission in March 2018.

From 1991 to 2005, Yao made use of his positions-including as head of the county's reservoir management bureau and deputy head of the county-to help individuals and departments gain benefits from enterprise transformations, capital turnover and project development. In return, he accepted 52.2 million yuan in bribes, the court said in its ruling.

Yao then fled abroad, the ruling said, adding that provincial prosecutors began investigating him in December 2005.

According to the Interpol Red Notice, the Bulgarian police arrested Yao in the country's capital Sofia on Oct 17, 2018, and temporarily detained him after receiving an application from China's National Supervision Commission, the ruling said.

Yao expressed his desire to surrender and return home when staff from the Chinese embassy in Bulgaria visited him, it said.

After he was brought back to China, he not only pleaded guilty, but also confessed to some other bribes he had taken that prosecutors had not known about.

The court heard Yao's case on July 5, 2019 and again on April 3, noting in the ruling that his behavior constituted the crime of bribery and the amount of bribes could be defined as "extremely large" under the Chinese Criminal Law.

"But given that he turned himself in, confessed to offenses that the prosecutors hadn't known about, revealed crimes of others and turned over his illicit gains, we leniently penalized him," the court explained.

Before the case, Huang Haiyong, a fugitive who was extradited from Peru in 2016 after spending 18 years on the run, was given a 15-year sentence in prison for smuggling goods and evading taxes.

Huang had resisted extradition, so it took eight years and a huge amount of manpower and material resources to bring him back to China.

"Yao's extradition was done in just about one month, as Yao had cooperated," the court said, adding that this was another reason he received lenient punishment.