Shi Tao, the former executive deputy general of FAW-Volkswagen Sales Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG’s China joint venture, has been sentenced to life in prison for accepting bribes totaling 33 million yuan ($5.3 million).
Shi, left, was also found guilty by a China court of owning unexplained assets worth 26.7 million yuan ($4.3 million).
Shi helped a number of companies build new car dealerships and trade highly demanded cars. He also took advantage of his position at the sales unit to award advertising, marketing and consulting services to bribe-paying companies, the court said.
Beijing Oriental and Rende Advertising Co. Ltd, AirMedia Group Inc., and Time Share Advertising & Communication Co Ltd were among the 48 companies that bribed Shi to win business.
Ten of the bribe payers have been investigated, according to court documents. Beijing Maiwei Information Consulting Co Ltd and Dalian Jieshida Automobile Sales & Service Co Ltd were both fined last year for paying bribes.
FAW-Volkswagen said last year it canceled agreements with 19 public relations and advertising agencies suspected of violating business ethics and anti-bribery laws.
Shi has been under investigation since October 2013. He is reportedly connected to Zhou Yongjiang, former general manager of FAW-Volkswagen Sales, and Zhou’s deputy Jing Guosong. Jing was investigated for corruption in 2012. Zhou was sentenced to 15 years in jail for taking bribes from car dealers.
Last month, FAW’s former chairman Xu Jianyi was placed under investigation for suspected corruption.
Sources: Reuters, Beijing Youth Daily (北京青年报), 21st Century Business Herald (21世纪经济报道)
Hui Zhi is the Senior Manager for Content with the China Compliance Digest, where a version of this post first appeared.