Former Chinese presidential aide sentenced to life in prison

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.

Story highlights

  • Ex-top aide to former Chinese president is sentenced to life in prison
  • Ling Jihua will not appeal the decision, Xinhua reports

Beijing (CNN)Ling Jihua, who served as the top aide to former Chinese President Hu Jintao, was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of accepting bribes, stealing state secrets and abusing power.

Prosecutors had accused Ling of accepting more than 77 million yuan ($11 million) in bribes either directly or through his family members, according to Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua.
    He also was found guilty of illegally obtaining a large amount of state secrets and using his official position to help others get promoted and acquire houses.
    Ling, who once held a post that is considered the Chinese equivalent to the White House chief of staff, was arrested last summer and tried in a closed-door court in June.
    His conviction is considered one of the biggest catches in current Chinese President Xi Jinping's massive anti-corruption campaign. Xi has vowed to eradicate official corruption, which has long been a lightning rod for the Chinese public's discontent with the government.
    Ling told the court he would not appeal, according to Xinhua. Ling was quoted as saying to the court in his closing statement that he accepted all charges and would obey the court verdict and sentencing.

    'Ferrari crash'

    Throughout the Hu years, Ling was often seen accompanying the Chinese president on trips home and abroad. He became known as one of Hu's 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 so-called "Ferrari crash" -- including reports of two scantily dressed female passengers and Ling's purported attempt to cover up the incident -- were widely reported by overseas 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 after stripped of his official titles.