Chinese authorities have arrested former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang and expelled him from the ruling Communist Party, accusing him of crimes ranging from accepting bribes to leaking state secrets.
In a statement released on the official Xinhua news agency just after midnight, the party’s elite politburo said Mr Zhou’s case had been handed over to judicial authorities, setting the stage for his trial.
Mr Zhou, who is in his 70s, is by far the highest-profile figure caught up in President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption.
Before his retirement two years ago, Mr Zhou was head of China’s internal security division. According to reports, he has been accused of several crimes, including “serious violations of party discipline”, “accepting large sums of bribes”, “disclosing party and state secrets” and “committing adultery with several women”.
A year ago, Mr Zhou was placed under virtual house arrest. Two months later, authorities seized assets worth at least 90bn yuan (£8.6bn) from his family members and associates.