TIANJIN, China — State prosecutors in Tianjin have arrested seven former members of a Tianjin government watchdog group, accusing them of taking more than 30 million yuan ($4.5 million) in bribes. Those charged in the case include five former members of the Tianjin Municipal People’s Congress.
While no one has been charged criminally in this case, which could lead to imprisonment, corruption charges are common in Chinese legal circles. Since a 2012 indictment of municipal government officials accused of taking bribes of more than 4.1 million yuan in the southern city of Shenzhen, cases involving graft have resulted in some of the most heavy sentences in years.
However, it’s unusual for prosecutors to file charges against state or local governments’ members of a legal body before presenting a full evaluation to the state, which is the final arbiter of the country’s laws.
In the alleged Tianjin case, the money is alleged to have been used by the group to buy luxury cars, fund lifestyle expenses for local officials and their families, buy expensive cigars, and pay political consulting, the court documents said.