• Kyodo

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A former deputy chief of China’s powerful economic planning agency appeared in court on Wednesday to face charges of peddling influence to a variety of companies, including a Sino-Japanese joint venture involving Toyota Motor Corp.

Liu Tienan, who served at the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo as an economic counselor in the 1990s, is accused of taking almost $6 million in bribes while working at the National Development and Reform Commission, according to a posting on the micro-blog of the Langfang Intermediate People’s Court, where Liu is being tried.

Court filings posted online say Liu helped Guangqi Toyota Engine Co. receive a business license to make automobile engines in Nansha, in southern Guangzhou province, in exchange for a job for his son. The company was established in 2004 as a partnership between Toyota and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co.

Liu’s case is thought to have come to the attention of authorities after accusations against him appeared on the personal Internet micro-blog of a reporter working for the investigative magazine Caijing.

The trial comes amid a wide-ranging campaign by Chinese President Xi Jinping to root out government corruption. It has netted a range of officials, both senior and low-level.

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