China’s Minister of Civil Affairs, Li Liguo, and his deputy, Don Yupe, have been sacked and are under investigation for embezzling some 200 billion yuan of lottery money. Suspicions were first raised that Li, a full member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee, may have run afoul of authorities when he was absent during the closing ceremonies of the Party’s sixth plenary session in October.
The December issue of Cheng Ming Magazine confirmed these suspicions when it reported that the two officials were detained and interrogated in October. Investigation of the ministerial corruption has quickly developed over the past two months.
The magazine reported that Li set up 27 accounts for illegal funds containing at least US$200,000, €200,000, £250,000, AU$500,000, and 500,000 Swiss francs. His personal property portfolio includes five real estate holdings in five major Chinese cities, including Beijing and Tianjin. Li is also reported to have kept 11 mistresses and 12 passports.
The China Welfare Lottery Management Center is a business unit that is directly under the management of the Ministry of Civil Affairs. An audit of the center revealed fraud at 25 provincial welfare lottery offices, with some 170 billion yuan of lotto money having been diverted and embezzled. If the fraud extends to the remaining provincial lottery offices, the embezzled amount could climb to more than 200 billion yuan.
Civil Affairs Minister Li spent more than two decades in Liaoning Province before becoming secretary general of the Tibet autonomous region in 1993. He was named head of the civil affairs ministry in 2010, after leaving Tibet to become deputy head in 2003.
Deputy Dou has worked in the Civil Affairs Ministry for more than 34 years. He was promoted to the position of vice minister in late 2005 . He held another position concurrently as a deputy head of the Red Cross Society of China since 2009.
Translated by Aizhu Lu and Cecilia
Subscribe to our weekly email