A minor Chinese official rose to infamy after anticorruption detectives discovered more than $20 million worth of renminbi in cash, 37 kilograms of gold bars and 68 property ownership documents in his family home, according to The New York Times' Sinosphere blog. Ma Chaoqun was arrested with his brother in February, and five other family members also have been apprehended, the blog said.
But the official's mother, Zhang Guiying, said her son is honest and that the bounty belonged to her deceased husband, a doctor who accrued the wealth by dabbling in side business ventures. She told reporters in the port city of Qinhuangdao that her son was the victim of a vendetta plot, planned by his boss to prevent Ma Chaoqun from exposing an alleged embezzlement scheme.
Zhang said she packed the cash into more than 40 boxes after her husband died in 2012 and stored them in a closet in the family home. "My husband thought it was too much trouble going to the bank to get money," Zhang said, according to Beijing tabloid The Mirror. "Some of the money hadn't been touched for years and was growing moldy," she said, according to The Beijing News.
Ma was the general manager of a state-run water supply company in northern China. He had a negative reputation among the locals who depended on his water service, according to state news agency Xinhua. Residents told Xinhua that Ma demanded money for water services. If the payment was too low, water would be cut off.