China: Former presidential aide to stand trial over abuse of power

In this 2012, file photo, Ling Jihua, a loyal aide and confidante to President Hu Jintao looks on as he attends the closing ceremony of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Beijing (CNN)Chinese prosecutors have charged Ling Jihua, a top aide to former President Hu Jintao, with accepting bribes, stealing state secrets and abusing power, paving way for a criminal trial, state news agency Xinhua reported Friday.

Ling, who once held a post that is often compared to the White House chief of staff, was arrested last summer after being expelled from the ruling Communist Party.
He is considered one of the biggest catches in President Xi Jinping's ongoing massive anti-corruption campaign. Xinhua gave no date for the trial.
    Xi has vowed to eradicate official corruption, long a lightning rod for the Chinese public's discontent with the government.

    'Ferrari crash'

    Throughout the Hu years, Ling was seen accompanying the Chinese president on trips home and abroad, and became known as one of his most trusted advisers.
    Ling's rising political fortune seemed to come to screeching halt, however, when his only son was reportedly killed in fiery car accident in Beijing in March 2012.
    Juicy details on the "Ferrari crash" -- including reports of two scantily dressed female passengers -- as well as Ling's attempt to cover it up -- were widely reported by overseas Chinese media.
    He was demoted in the summer of 2012, shortly before Hu handed power over to Xi.
    In December 2014, the party's disciplinary arm announced a formal investigation into Ling over "serious violations of Party regulations," and he was soon stripped of his official titles.
    In addition to allegedly committing adultery, which is not a crime in China, party investigators also accused Ling of abusing his position to help his wife's businesses.