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/ Source: Reuters
By Reuters

BEIJING - China will prosecute a former senior aide to retired president Hu Jintao after an investigation found that he took bribes and engaged in other corrupt behavior, the government said on Monday.

Ling Jihua has been expelled from the Communist Party and his case handed over to judicial authorities, the official Xinhua news agency said, meaning he will face prosecution. He is the latest top official to fall in a graft crackdown.

Former Chinese President Hu Jintao (right) and aide Ling Jihua (left) attend the closing of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing on March 12, 2013.HOW HWEE YOUNG / EPA

The ruling Communist Party announced an investigation into Ling in December. He had been demoted in September 2012 from a ministerial-level job months after his son was killed in a crash involving a luxury sports car.

A statement released after a meeting of the Politburo, one the party's elite ruling bodies, said that the crimes Ling is accused of had done major damage to the party's image and had a "terrible" effect on society.

"He or his family received enormous bribes; he obtained a large number of the party's and state's core secrets, breaking discipline and the law," the government said in a short statement carried by Xinhua.

"He should bear major responsibility for his family members' acts of seeking profits with the influence of his position," it said, adding that Ling is also suspected of "other criminal offences" it did not name.

Ling and his wife also received money and gifts from other, unnamed, people, and he had affairs with numerous women and traded power for sex, it added.

Party members can be punished for adultery as they are supposed to be upstanding members of society. The charge is frequently leveled at high-ranking graft suspects as a way of showing they are morally degenerate and deserve punishment.

In a separate statement also carried by Xinhua, the state prosecutor said that it had approved Ling's arrest and formally begun to build a legal case against him.

Ling's case has presented a dilemma for Beijing; his position is particularly sensitive because of his close connection with former president Hu, Xi Jinping's predecessor.

Since assuming power in late 2012, Xi, who doubles as party and military chief, has pursued a relentless campaign against deep-rooted corruption, vowing to go after powerful "tigers" as well as lowly "flies."