One of China's former top judges will be tried for taking up to four million yuan (588,000 dollars) in bribes, in one of the nation's most high-profile graft cases, the state press said Sunday.
Huang Songyou, former deputy head of the Supreme People's Court, will go on trial by the first week of March, making him the highest judicial official to be tried since the establishment of new China in 1949, the Chongqing Evening News said.
Huang, 52, is being accused of abusing power, enabling profit for others, taking bribes and living a "corrupt and lavish"
life, the report said.
He allegedly accepted a massive bribe to arrange a favourable ruling in a huge real estate case in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong in 2008 that benefited friends and cronies, the report said.
Yang Xiancai, a former chief judge at the Guangdong provincial high court, has also been linked to the case, along with 36 other officials in the Guangzhou intermediate court in Guangdong's provincial capital, the Southern Metropolitan Daily said.
A native of Guangdong, Huang once served as a judge on the provincial high court.
As one of China's best educated judges, Huang was seen as a leading figure pushing China down the path toward a constitutional legal system when he was appointed vice head of the nation's Supreme People's Court in late 2008.
His trial is expected to come ahead of China's annual parliamentary session in the first week of March, the reports said.
Chinese President Hu Jintao has repeatedly warned that corruption is one of the greatest threats to the legitimacy of Communist Party rule and has vowed to crackdown on graft.
China's judiciary is rife with corruption, with judges known to take bribes in a wide array of civil cases often linked to lucrative real estate and business deals.
Top court officials in Beijing and Chongqing as well as Guangdong, Hubei and Liaoning provinces have recently been convicted for taking money from attorneys in exchange for favourable rulings.
The former vice head of Beijing's western district court, 58-year-old Guo Shengqui, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve in late 2008 for taking bribes and kickbacks from real estate developers and lawyers.