January 12, 2016 / 1:16 AM / in 2 years

Former China deputy security minister sentenced to 15 years: state media

Then vice minister of public security Li Dongsheng gestures as he speaks during a meeting in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, in this picture taken May 22, 2013.Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has jailed former vice public security minister Li Dongsheng for 15 years, state media reported on Tuesday, the latest official tied to ousted security tsar Zhou Yongkang to be sentenced for corruption offences.

Scores of top officials in the ruling Communist Party, the government, the military and state-owned companies have been brought down in a sweeping anti-graft campaign in the past three years since President Xi Jinping came to power.

Li went on trial at a court in the northeastern city of Tianjin in October, charged with illegally accepting almost 22 million yuan ($3.5 million) worth of assets, the official Xinhua news agency said at the time.

He was a top official at the powerful Ministry of Public Security, which Zhou oversaw before he was jailed for life in June after a secret trial in China's most sensational graft scandal in 70 years.

Authorities also confiscated 1 million yuan in personal assets, China Central Television (CCTV) said on its official microblog.

Xinhua on Tuesday said that Li had abused the various posts he held since 1996, including as a deputy head at CCTV.

In a vague list of his crimes, Xinhua said Li "sought improper benefits" for various behavior, including "handling major accident liability" for a person named Zhao Lifu.

Of the nearly 22 million in bribes that he took, Li kept close to 5 million yuan and passed the rest to his brother Li Fusheng, the news agency said.

"Li Dongsheng expressed in court that he would not appeal," CCTV said.

The reports did not give specific details and did not mention Zhou.

Other allies of Zhou have been sentenced in recent months. Former oil executives Jiang Jiemin and Wang Yongchun, an aide from Sichuan province Guo Yongxiang, and Li Chuncheng, the former deputy party boss in Sichuan, have all been given prison terms between 13 and 20 years.

China's biggest oil company, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), was a power base for Zhou.

Xi has warned the problem of corruption among officials could threaten the party's ability to retain power, though some analysts say he is also eliminating rivals.

Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Michael Perry and Joseph Radford

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