The latest report out of China has confirmed rumors that Liu Zhijun, former Chinese railway minister, has been released pending a decision by the disciplinary wing of the Communist Party of China.
Zhijun, 58, who had been railway minister since 2003, was sacked due to allegations of bribery and "moral turpitude." He is under investigation for allegedly embezzling 1 billion yuan ($152m) and for keeping 18 mistresses.
According to the state-run Xinhua news service, the disciplinary wing released Liu Zhijun in recognition of his presiding over the tremendous growth in China's railway network since he took over in 2003.
In contradiction to the official storyline, some sources say that the real reason for the release is the secret negotiation between Zhijun and the rest of the ministers in China's government, for which the decision is still pending.
The subject of the negotiations is the money embezzled and the 18 mistresses. In exchange for his release Zhijun was asked to repay the money he took in bribes and to give up his mistresses.
After lengthy pleading, and in recognition of his long and devoted service, this was brought down to a choice of surrendering the one or the other.
Liu Zhijun is said to have argued that repaying the money while keeping the mistresses was of no use because without the money the mistresses would not remain with him. On the other hand, surrendering the mistresses while keeping the money was equally useless because he took the bribes to pay for the mistresses.
At last report, Zhijun had made a last-ditch offer, for which the verdict is pending. Zhijun has asked that he be allowed to keep the money and the mistresses, in exchange for which he offered the rest of the ministers visiting and usage rights over his mistresses.
It is expected the ministers will accept the handsome offer.