A Chinese businesswoman has been fined $400 million and given a 20-year prison sentence after she was found guilty  of colluding with a former rail chief jailed for corruption.

Ding Shumiao had taken two billion yuan ($322m) in "agent fees" for helping former railways minister Liu Zhijun set up 57 rail projects involving 23 companies, Beijing's No 2 Intermediate People's Court said.

The 58-year-old also gave Liu 49 million yuan, added a statement posted on the court's verified account on Sina Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter.

"The evidence was reliable and abundant," the court statement said in detailing the sentence of a 2.5 billion yuan ($400m) fine and the lengthy prison term.

She had stood trial in September on charges of involvement with illegal business activities worth a total of 186 billion yuan ($30bn) that were linked to Liu, previous reports said.

They also said that she had arranged sexual favours for the politician. Ding, who is also known as Ding Yuxin, reportedly started out in business as an egg vendor in the 1980s.

She was pictured in online reports at her sentencing Tuesday wearing a pink sports pullover, flanked by security and looking visibly shaken and upset.

Liu was given a suspended death sentence last July after he was convicted of taking bribes worth 60 million yuan ($9.7m) linked to rail construction projects.

Communist Party authorities have waged a much-publicised anti-graft campaign since Xi ascended to the organisation's leadership two years ago.

But critics say no systemic reforms have been introduced to increase transparency to help battle endemic corruption.

Source: AFP