China executes businessman linked to Zhou Yongkang

China executes businessman linked to Zhou Yongkang

BEIJING - Chinese authorities on Monday executed a former mining tycoon connected to the eldest son of retired domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, himself the focus of a high-profile corruption investigation, state media reported.

The High People's Court in the central province of Hubei ordered the execution of Liu Han, the former chairman of unlisted Hanlong Group, who was given the death sentence last May, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The case against Liu was one of the most prominent involving a private businessman since President Xi Jinping took office two years ago and began a campaign against pervasive graft.

Liu, who once ranked as China's 230th richest person, was tried last year, along with 36 others, accused of murder and running what state media called a "mafia-style" gang.

Liu's younger brother, Liu Wei, and three others were also executed, according to Xinhua.

China last year announced a probe into Zhou Yongkang, one of its most influential politicians of the last decade, in a case that has its roots in a power struggle in the ruling Communist Party.

Sources have told Reuters Liu was once a business associate of Zhou's eldest son, Zhou Bin. State media have not explicitly linked Liu's case to Zhou Yongkang, but have said his rise coincided with Zhou's time as Sichuan's party boss.

The party has already gone after several of Zhou's protegees, including Jiang Jiemin, who was the top regulator of state-owned enterprises.

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