BEIJING, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- Prosecuting organs have investigated 24 people allegedly involved in a former businessman's reduced prison sentence and early release, the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) said on Monday.
Zhang Hai, former board chairman of Jianlibao Group Co. Ltd., a Chinese beverage company in south China's Guangdong Province, used illegal means to have his sentence reduced by five years at a second trial in 2008. His jail term was further shortened by more than four years while in prison.
Found to be illegally in possession of 120.7 million yuan (17.6 million U.S. dollars) of corporate funds and misappropriating 86.44 million yuan, Zhang was initially sentenced to 15 years in prison by a city court in 2007.
Zhang's sentence was reduced by five years in September 2008 by Guangdong's higher court because he provided crucial information to police.
However, Monday's SPP statement said that the information was stolen by Zhang's girlfriend Huang Lu and secretary Kang Jie from two other suspects in cooperation with two police officers.
Huang allegedly bribed senior officials working in the prison and justice system. A fabricated document was produced relating to Zhang's good behavior and his jail term was reduced by two years in September 2010.
According to the SPP, Zhang also persuaded others to fabricate a patent application for him.
The patent led to his jail term to be further reduced by two years, one month and 28 days on Jan. 25, 2011, and Zhang was released the following day.
Zhang and Huang went overseas in January 2011.
The 24 people under investigation include 11 in the judiciary and prison service, three working in detention centers, one court official, two lawyers and seven others.
Among them, three respectively working in the prison, court and detention services have already been sentenced to five to six years in jail, with Zhang's secretary Kang Jie receiving 11 months.
Meanwhile, the two reduced sentence decisions have been revoked and the second court ruling was also being re-considered by Guangdong's higher court.
Related departments are now trying arrest and extradite Zhang and Huang. The SPP did not provide details of where they are.