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China ex-premier Wen pleads innocence over hidden riches claim

Published on Jan 19, 2014 1:45 PM

HONG KONG (AFP) - Former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao has pleaded innocence over claims that his family amassed huge wealth during his decade in power, a Hong Kong columnist said, as Beijing ramps up a much-publicised crackdown on official corruption.

"I have never been involved and would not get involved in one single deal of abusing my power for personal gain because no such gains whatsoever could shake my convictions," Mr Wen said in a letter to Ng Hong-mun, a columnist with the Ming Pao newspaper, a Hong Kong-based Chinese-language daily.

"I want to walk the last journey in this world well. I came to this world with bare hands and I want to leave this world clean," Mr Wen said, according to Mr Ng's column published on Saturday.

Mr Wen's letter dated December 27 follows a 2012 New York Times report that claimed his family controlled assets worth at least US$2.7 billion (S3.4$ billion) - a report China vigorously denounced as a smear.

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