By Li Qian | 2012-12-27 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
THE former boss of a state-owned transport company and reported right-hand man to Liu Zhijun, the disgraced former railways minister, faced graft charges in court yesterday in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.
The trial of Luo Jinbao is the opening salvo in court of a series of graft cases that have entangled officials with the Ministry of Railways.
Luo, former board chairman of China Railway Container Transport Co Ltd, was charged with 32 counts of bribery when he was an official with the Shijiazhuang-Taiyuan high-speed route and railway head in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Luo was appointed to head the transport company in April 2010.
Earlier reports described him as a middleman between Liu and businesswoman Ding Shumiao. Ding, 57, was chairwoman of Beijing Boyou Investment Management Corp. She illegally profited from a number of railway projects up to 800 million yuan (US$128 million), investigators said.
Luo was removed from his post in October 2010 and placed under investigation at the beginning of 2011, when authorities also started probing Ding, Caixin.com reported.
Liu was probed in February 2011 and expelled from the Party this May.
At least eight senior officials at the railway ministry have been sacked in the past two years, Caixin said.
Large-scale graft and safety problems at the ministry came to light after a high-speed train collision in July 2011 that killed 40 passengers and injured 172 others.