Sun Zhengcai, a Chinese official who was once tipped to succeed President Xi Jinping, was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday for taking more than $26 million (Rs 1.74 billion) in bribes, reported South China Morning Post.

He will also lose his political rights for life, and all his personal property will be confiscated. “His illegal gains and relevant yields they generated will be retrieved,” said the First Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin Municipality.

The court found that Sun had used various posts he held between 2002 and 2007 to help certain units and individuals with project bidding, project approval, enterprise operation and personnel promotion and arrangement. He accepted kickbacks in return, reported state media agency Xinhua. Sun was the agriculture minister and held positions in Jilin province and Beijing during this period.

The court said that Sun had undermined the work of state organs, violated integrity rules for state officials and tarnished their reputation. On April 12, Sun pleaded guilty to the charges. He was the Communist Party’s chief of Chongqing in southwest China, and the youngest member of the Communist Party’s elite 25-member Politburo before being expelled.