A Chinese court has given former railways minister Liu Zhijun a suspended death sentence for corruption and abuse of power, according to official Chinese news agency Xinhua.

The Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court heard the matter earlier in June, but did not pass a verdict until today. The court found Liu guilty and sentenced him to death with a two-year reprieve. Under Chinese law, that means his sentence can be reduced to life imprisonment for good behavior

Liu, who was represented by East Associates Law Firm partner Qian Lieyang, was accused of accepting bribes totaling $10 million, mainly in exchange for handing out railway construction contracts. Substandard work on one high-speed line was blamed for a deadly 2011 crash in Wenzhou that killed 40 people.

The court held that the bribery had cost the public a large amount of money, and that his abuse of authority also compromised the rights and interests of the state and the people. But presiding judge Bai Shanyun said the suspension of the death sentence was merited because Liu had confessed to his crimes, shown repentance, and cooperated in retrieving money lost due to his corruption.

The court also ruled for Liu to be deprived of political rights for life and to have all of his personal assets, including a large real estate portfolio, confiscated.

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