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Last Updated: Monday, 5 November 2007, 07:13 GMT
Macau minister 'pocketed $100m'
Ao Man-long, pictured in September 2006
Mr Ao presided over a huge construction boom
The largest corruption trial in the history of gambling enclave Macau has opened, with a former minister accused of taking $100m (50m) in bribes.

Ao Man-long, who served as minister for transport and public works, faces 25 years in jail if he is convicted.

Prosecutors say Mr Ao took bribes in return for approving construction deals in the former Portuguese colony, which was returned to Chinese rule in 1999.

He has not yet entered a plea in the case, which is due to last a month.

Macau is the only resort in China where casino gambling is legal, attracting a flood of foreign investment.

'Unpopular' government

For seven years Mr Ao was the senior official responsible for transport and public works in Macau, overseeing a huge construction boom.

Map

He was arrested in December last year and later charged with 76 offences, including money-laundering, taking bribes and abuse of power.

He is alleged to have accumulated $100m - about 57 times his official income.

Anti-corruption officials say Mr Ao took bribes from at least three property developers - two in Hong Kong and one from mainland China.

The case is an important step in China's efforts to rein in its administration in Macau, the BBC's Vaudine England reports.

The administration has become unpopular for allowing rampant casino development while the gap between rich and poor has continued to widen, our correspondent says.

SEE ALSO
Rare Macau protest turns violent
01 May 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Tiny Macau overtakes Vegas Strip
25 Oct 06 |  Business
China border casino crackdown
17 Apr 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Regions and territories: Macau
04 Jan 07 |  Country profiles

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