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Former China Mobile executive gets life sentence for taking bribes

BEIJING (Reuters) - A court in northeast China sentenced a former vice president of China Mobile Ltd's <0941.HK> state-owned parent to life in prison for accepting bribes, state media said on Friday, the latest executive at a state-owned firm to have his fate sealed as China tries to root out corruption.

Lu Xiangdong, 53, in collusion with others including his wife, abused his position to take more than 25 million yuan ($4.10 million) in bribes between 2003 and 2011, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing a mid-November ruling by a court in Jilin province.

"The sum of bribes accepted by Lu Xiangdong was immense," Xinhua said, adding that he was given a "lenient sentence in view of his admission of guilt and good attitude, confession of details, and the return of some illicit funds".

Lu was investigated in early 2012 when he ran the company's marketing operations and digital business, Xinhua said.

Officials at China Mobile, the country's largest telecom operator, declined to comment on Friday. Lu was vice president of China Mobile Communications Corp., which is the state-owned parent.

China has launched a series of investigations into executives in various sectors, ranging from energy to shipping, as President Xi Jinping focuses on rooting out graft, which is seen as a threat to the survival of the ruling Communist Party.

Xi, who took up the presidency in March, has pledged that the campaign will take on top-level "tigers" and lowly "flies".

In August and September, five former senior officials of the country's biggest oil business, China National Petroleum Corp , were under investigation for "serious discipline violations".

The investigations have also extended to the shipping industry, with China COSCO Holdings <1919.HK> <601919.SS> saying that one of its top executives is the subject of government inquiries.

(Reporting by Michael Martina)

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