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Who Are Liu Han’s “Friends?”

04-08 14:00 Caijing
Liu invested heavily in corrupting officials to build a network involving high-level government officials that even ordinary billionaires had trouble accessing.

By staff reporters Xu Qianchuan, Zhang Lu, and Lu Wei

Liu Han, chairman of Sichuan’s largest private enterprise Hanlong Group, was arrested four months after Li Chuncheng, former deputy Party chief in Sichuan Province, was subject to shuanggui (a procedure in which a Party member is detained by the discipline inspection commission and asked to confess to wrongdoing at a stipulated time and place) in early Dec. 2012.

Liu stood trial on multiple charges including “organizing, leading, or participating in gangs” at the Intermediate People’s Court of Xianning City on March 31, 2014.

Three low-level local government officials were prosecuted at the same court together with Liu for “winking at and covering up for gangs” and taking bribes, including Liu Xuejun, former political commissar at the Criminal Investigation Division of Deyang Public Security Bureau; Lǚ Bin, former director at the Logistics and Finance Division of Deyang Public Security Bureau; and Liu Zhongwei, former deputy attorney general at the People’s Procuratorate of Shifang City.

According to the prosecutor, Liu Xuejun asked Liu Han to help him get promoted; in exchange, Liu Xuejun concealed or destroyed case files that were bad for Liu Han and repeatedly tipped Liu Han off after murder cases. Liu Zhongwei and Lǚ Bin were accused by the prosecutor of providing firearm accessories and ammunition to Liu Han’s brother Liu Wei.

The case of Liu Xuejun, Lǚ Bin, and Liu Zhongwei is one of the seven “sub-cases” of the Liu Han case that has implicated 36 people. Liu Xuejun and the other two were but low-ranking government officials. However, according to state-run Xinhua News Agency, it is an open secret that Liu Han has connections to some high-ups.

Xinhua cited Sun Xiaodong, former president of Hanlong Group, as confessing that Liu Han was generous in associating with government officials and always catered to the latter’s wishes. The news agency also reported that according to Liu Han’s ex-wife Yang Xue and members of Liu’s inner circle, Liu Han’s connections expanded from Guanghan, a small city in Sichuan, to Sichuan’s other cities including Deyang, Mianyang, Chengdu, and even to Beijing in recent years as his wealth multiplied.

In particular, since Liu Han became a member of Sichuan provincial CPPCC Standing Committee, he began to associate with high-level government officials that ordinary billionaires could hardly reach. Liu invested heavily in corrupting officials to build a network that included former Sichuan Deputy Governor Guo Yongxiang, Li Chuncheng, who was also former Chengdu Municipal Party Secretary, and Zhou Bin, son of Zhou Yongkang, former member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

Years of networking with government officials and their family members greatly boosted Liu’s business and repeatedly helped him get away with serious crimes. Liu’s business presence expanded nationwide long ago. According to Xinhua News Agency, Liu Han, chairman of Sichuan’s largest private enterprise Hanlong Group and chairman of public company Jinlu Group, owned tens of subsidiaries in industries ranging from financial securities, energy and electricity, real estate, and mining development; and had a net worth of nearly 40 billion yuan before his arrest.

However, Liu’s close connections to government officials were not reflected in the seven “sub-cases” with 36 defendants. Among the 15 crimes Liu was charged with, bribery was notably missing.

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