Ex-sports chief gets 10 years for bribery, abuses of power

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By XU WEI xuwei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s for­mer vice-min­is­ter of sport has been sen­tenced to 10 and a half years in prison af­ter he was con­victed of bribery by a court in He­nan prov­ince on Mon­day.

Xiao Tian, for­mer deputy head of the State Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Sport, was found by the Nanyang Peo­ple’s In­ter­me­di­ate Court to have taken bribes worth more than 7.96 mil­lion yuan ($1.15 mil­lion) be­tween 1997 and 2014, the court said in an on­line state­ment.

Xiao was or­dered to pay a fine of 500,000 yuan, and the bribes he took will also be re­cov­ered and turned over to the na­tional trea­sury, the state­ment said.

The court found that Xiao abused his po­si­tions at the sports author­ity, in­clud­ing as chief of the win­ter sports ad­min­is­tra­tion cen­ter and head of the depart­ment of com­pet­i­tive sports, to pro­vide as­sis­tance to in­di­vid­u­als and units in con­tract­ing projects, host­ing tour­na­ments, job ar­range­ment and pro­mo­tions.

The court said it showed le­niency in its ver­dict as Xiao con­fessed to his crimes, pleaded guilty and re­turned his il­le­gal gains, the state­ment said.

Xiao was ap­pointed as the coun­try’s deputy sports head in Au­gust 2005. He was a fencer from An­hui prov­ince be­fore he started work­ing for the sports author­ity in 1981.

He be­came head of win­ter sports in 1998 and led China to its his­toric gold medal at the Win­ter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the United States, in 2002.

He was elected vice-pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­a­tion In­ter­na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion, bas­ket­ball’s world gov­ern­ing body, in Septem­ber 2014.

In June last year, he was placed un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for sus­pected “se­ri­ous breaches of dis­ci­pline and the law” by the Cen­tral Com­mis­sion for Dis­ci­pline In­spec­tion, the top anti­graft watch­dog.

He is the most se­nior of­fi­cial in the State-run sports sys­tem to be probed and con­victed of cor­rup­tion.

China has sought to eject cor­rupt of­fi­cials from its sports es­tab­lish­ment since July 2014, with the top anti­graft watch­dog send­ing an in­spec­tion team to the sports author­ity amid its sweep­ing cam­paign against cor­rup­tion.

Xiao Tian

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