13.5  tonnes of gold found in corrupt Chinese official's home - video

02 Oct 2019 | by Diana Kendall

A powerfull Chinese Communist official has some serious explaining to do after investigators came across mounds of gold in his house in Haikou City, Hainan province.

13.5  tonnes of gold found in corrupt Chinese official's home - video

13.5 tons of gold, bars and  bricks, were discovered at the leader's home during a raid by corruption inspectors earlier this month. Their value could be worth up to $637 million (£520m)  according to international trading prices.

Zhang Qi, 58, is the fella who was housing all this gold - he was a top official in the province of Hainan, South China, working as the secretary of the Communist Party Committee of Haikou and also as a member of the Standing Committee of Hainan Province.

In addition to the gold, there was an alleged 268 billion yuan (£30bn/$36.7bn) worth of suspected bribes on the man's account. It is also thought that he was the recipient of millions of yuan in cash and antiques, plus evidence of a huge portfolio of luxury real estate.

Mr Zhang has since been stripped of both titles by the Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. Officials convicted of ‘economic crimes’ or corruption can face the death penalty in China.

Mr Zhang was born in eastern China's Anhui Province and joined the Communist Party in 1983. Before ascending to power in Haikou, he served as the deputy mayor of Sanya city and the mayor of Danzhou. Both cities are in Hainan Province.

If these corruption accusations turn out to be true, he would have been the richest man in China, worth more than Jack Ma - the current wealthiest man in the East Asian country - who is worth a reported $37 billion (£30bn).

Chinese President Xi Jinping has launched a tough anti-corruption campaign since he took office in 2012. 

Statistics show at least 53 officials have been caught receiving more than 100 million yuan (£11 million) in bribes in the past seven years in the nation.  

Mr Zhang is the 17th senior official to have been investigated for corruption in China since the beginning of the year, according to Chinese media.