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Ex-soccer chief took bribes from Nike executive, says indictment

(Xinhua)

10:01, April 25, 2012

DANDONG, Liaoning Province, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Former Chinese Football Association (CFA) chief Xie Yalong had taken bribes from Nike's China executive, said the court documents on Tuesday.

The 56-year-old Xie has been charged with taking over 1.7 million yuan (about 273,000 U.S. dollars) in bribes as a northeastern Chinese court opened the second round of trials on soccer corruption on Tuesday morning.

The former track athlete had allegedly accepted bribes from a dozen of companies, clubs and individuals on 12 occasions between 1998 and 2008, including 178,400 yuan from a leading executive in China for U.S. sportswear giant Nike.

However, Xie's attorney Jin Xiaohui told the Chinese portal Sina that Xie had denied "parts of the charges" against him in the court.

A report carried by People's Daily's website quoted Jin as saying that Xie told the court the names who had "forced him into confession" during earlier interrogations.

According to the court documents, Xie's bribery dated back to 1998 when he was director of the Mass Sports Department of the State General Administration of Sports.

"Between May and June in 1998, Xie received 200,000 yuan from a Qingdao sports equipment manufacturer," read the indictment.

Xie has also been indicted on taking bribes totaling 1,527,800 yuan in his capacity as the director of the Football Administrative Center and CFA executive deputy chairman between 2005 and 2008.

"He received 178,400 yuan from Li Tong, Nike China's marketing director, for helping Nike win a title sponsorship deal with the Chinese Super League," said the indictment.

Xie also allegedly accepted 50,000 yuan from Zhu Guanghu in 2006 in return for keeping him as the national team head coach and received 319,700 yuan from the Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals club for match-fixing.

Xie and Nan Yaong, who is to stand trial in a different court in Liaoning on Wednesday, are the highest ranking officials caught in China's ever-widening crackdown on soccer corruption, which has brought down dozens of high-ranking soccer officials, referees and players.

Note: 1 U.S. dollar =6.3 yuan

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