China sex tape official loses appeal

BEIJING (AP) — A southern Chinese court Tuesday upheld the guilty verdict and sentence against the former city official at the heart of a sex tape scandal.

Lei Zhengfu was convicted in June of accepting more than 3 million yuan ($500,000) in bribes from a developer to pay off a businessman who was using the tape to blackmail him. Lei, the former party chief of a district in the southern city of Chongqing, had said the money was a loan. He subsequently appealed.

The Chongqing High Court said in a statement posted online it had upheld Lei’s 13-year prison sentence, his being stripped of his political rights for three years and the seizure of 300,000 yuan of his private assets along with the bribes he took.

The case riveted the public since video clips went viral of the 55-year-old having sex with a woman. She was hired by property developers in an elaborate extortion scheme.

Four men and two women were sentenced for up to 10 years in prison for extortion in connection with the case. Three of the men also unsuccessfully appealed, the court said.

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