‘Gold-fanatic’ Chinese officer made some $5bn from bribes: report

‘Gold-fanatic’ Chinese officer made some $5bn from bribes: report

Gu is said to have been was obsessed with gold, especially if used to make statues of Buddha.

Ex-senior Chinese military officer Gu Junshan, who is facing several charges of corruption, including unlawfully selling hundreds of positions in the army, is said to have also shipped billions worth of gold bars for bribes, Hong Kong-based Phoenix Weekly magazine reported Monday.

The gold-obsessed general and former deputy director of the logistics department of the People's Liberation Army, is said to have been especially fond of solid gold, particularly when it came in the shape of Buddha statues.

But when it was time to receiving “gifts” Gu allegedly preferred ground up gold rather than gold bars, Reuters reports:

When offering [bribes], he would fill up a Mercedes with hundreds of bars of gold and then simply hand over the car keys to the recipient, the report said.

"Gu got exactly what he wanted," a person with knowledge of the probe told the magazine.

Gu is alleged to have shared much of the spoils of his scams with Xu Caihou, his superior, including giving a 20 million yuan (US$3.1million) debit card to Xu's daughter as a wedding present, the South China Morning Post reported in March. Xu was forced to retire as deputy head of the powerful Central Military Commission last year.

China intensified a crackdown on corruption in the military in the late 1990s, forbidding army members from engaging in businesses. But officers have been involved in commercial dealings in recent years due to a lack of checks and balances.

Anti-graft advocates believe corruption in the Chinese military is so pervasive that it could undermine the nation’s ability to wage war.

(Image of smiling golden Buddha statue by Lenar Musin| Shutterstock.com)