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Official fired amid claims of lavish lifestyle

2013-06-21 10:55 Global Times Web Editor: Wang Fan

A former official from the State Archives Administration (SAA), who allegedly paid his girlfriend large sums of cash to set her up in the lap of luxury in Beijing, has been removed from his post, according to a statement published Wednesday on the SAA's website.

Fan Yue, a former deputy director of the SAA's Policy and Legislation Research Department, was revealed to have had a four-year affair with Ji Yingnan, 25, a former TV host on the China Travel &Economic Channel.

After Fan ended the relationship, an embittered Ji took to her microblog, posting claims that he had lavished gifts on her to the tune of about 10 million yuan ($1.63 million).

"This case is under investigation now. It's unclear whether Fan is also implicated in corruption, so it's not convenient to give you any information about it," an official, who declined to be named, from the SAA told the Global Times on Thursday.

He was removed from his post on June 6, and the SAA is investigating the source of the money Ji claims Fan spent.

The public first became aware of the scandal on June 14, when Ji revealed details of their affair via her Sina Weibo account. She claimed that Fan gave her 10,000 yuan daily, and bought her an Audi worth 700,000 yuan in late 2009, the Beijing Times reported Thursday. The posts triggered public questions as to how a mid-level official could fund such an extravagant lifestyle.

The SAA said that Ji had informed them at the end of April that Fan had been living with her since June 2009, but was not officially divorced. Fan and his wife had signed a divorce agreement in February 2007, but did not finish the legal procedures.

Fan had rented her an apartment in Beijing's Xicheng district for 9,000 yuan a month, and purchased luxury appliances and Apple products to furnish it, with one kitchen knife alone costing 3,000 yuan. He told her he had been divorced for years, and had plans to marry.

However, in December, 2012, Fan confessed to Ji that he had a wife, and said he wanted to cool off the relationship with her.

Fan denied that he gave Ji 10,000 yuan every day, the Beijing Times reported, adding that the information on the Internet was incorrect, and his lawyer is on the case.

"I don't think Fan and Ji will face charges of bigamy in this case, because their acquaintances regarded them as boyfriend and girlfriend, not a couple. Especially as Ji didn't even know he was still married," said Li Chunyan, a lawyer in the Beijing-based Anbo Law Firm. Merely having an agreement to divorce is not legitimate, she noted.

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