Two entertainment stars, actress Zhao Wei and CCTV host Liu Fangfei, are reportedly involved in a graft case surrounding a top official, according to details verified by Wang Yi, former deputy director of the China Development Bank, during a court proceeding in Beijing on Tuesday.
The former bank official confessed to accepting a total of 11.9 million yuan in bribes over the past decade. The testimony of Li Tao, a Hong Kong businessman who was charged with paying Wang off to obtain a bank loan years ago, reveals that Zhao Wei and Liu Fangfei were each linked to two sums of money Li had paid Wang for offering him "convenience."
The Hong Kong businessman testified he paid 300,000 yuan to Zhao Wei for her attendance at the opening ceremony of his department store in Shenzhen ten years ago. The star was accompanied to the event by Wang Yi.
In another incident, Wang had instructed Li to give well-known television host Liu Fangfei 2 million yuan to pay back her housing loan. But when the judicial investigation started in January 2009, Wang told Liu to return the entire sum of money plus 40,000 yuan in interest to Li.
Pregnant Zhao Wei
Zhao Wei's agent, Chen Rong, immediately responded to the media buzz in the wake of the news: "It was a purely commercial event, we didn't know these people at all," Chen explained.
Zhao, 33, has been out of the public attention for a long while and is expecting her first child with billionaire Huang Youlong in Singapore.
Liu has denied her involvement in Wang's case as well. "I have nothing to do with it," she answered briefly in response to a phone call from the Chengdu Business Report, but refused to comment further.
The preliminary ruling in Wang Yi's bribery case will be out in two weeks.
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