Source AP ©

Two former executives of Shanghai companies get life sentences

Chinese courts have sentenced six officials and will soon open trials for others as the country's communist leaders wrap up a massive pension fund scandal ahead of a key party congress, according to state media reports.

The No. 1 Intermediate People's Court in the northeastern city of Changchun sentenced Zhu Junyi, former head of the city's Labor and Social Security Bureau, to 18 years in prison for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power, Caijing, a financial magazine, reported on its Web site.

Two former executives of Shanghai companies received life sentences: Han Guozhang, a former vice president of electric power generator maker Shanghai Electric, and Wu Minglie, a former chairman of the Shanghai New Huangpu Group, a state-owned real estate company, Caijing and the Beijing-backed Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao reported at the weekend.

Wu was convicted of taking 10 million yuan (US$1.3 million; EUR930,000) in bribes and Han of taking more than 6 million yuan (US$800,000; EUR570,000), it said.

Phone calls to the court's news department rang unanswered Monday.

Lu Qiwei, a deputy to Zhu, got eight years in prison after being convicted of taking 1 million yuan (US$133,000; EUR95,000) in bribes, the reports said.

There was no word on a date or location for the trial of former Shanghai party secretary Chen Liangyu, the highest level party official to be dismissed in a decade. Chen is reportedly in jail awaiting trial on corruption charges as are a number of other former officials and business executives.