SHANGHAI, China – The former deputy general manager of China Eastern Airlines went on trial yesterday at Shanghai No 1 Intermediate People’s Court charged with taking more than 5 million yuan (US$804,000) worth of bribes.
Despite appearing on a police video apparently confessing to the crimes, Chen Haiju has pleaded innocent to all charges, saying he made the comments to escape further questioning and to be released from detention.
“That could be seen as a strategy of mine (to get out of the detention house),” the 64-year-old said.
Chen was appointed deputy general manager of China Eastern in 2003 but was removed from the post in 2011. He was arrested last July and charged with graft two months later.
Prosecutors said Chen abused his powers by offering favors to people in return for money. Between 2001 and 2013 he is said to have received 5.04 million yuan.
In one case, he is alleged to have taken property and cash totaling more than 2.3 million yuan from a man surnamed Liu to whom he awarded two engineering projects.
Another associate, surnamed Feng, is said to have “loaned” Chen 600,000 yuan and given him US$20,000 gambling money in return for being awarded two decoration projects in Beijing and Shanghai in 2002.
Chen denied all charges and insisted that the funds he received were not bribes.
His lawyers added that the people who said they had bribed Chen had no evidence to support their claims.
The trial continues today.