Beijing: Charges have been filed against seven suspects in an electoral fraud scandal in China’s Hengyang city, authorities said Tuesday.

Zhou Ji and six other people have been charged with crimes of dereliction of duty and disrupting the election, Xinhua reported citing the People’s Procuratorate of Hunan province.

The scandal in Hengyang emerged Dec 28 when the provincial legislature announced that more than 500 lawmakers in the city had been disqualified, dismissed or had resigned.

An investigation has shown that 56 provincial legislators had offered 110 million yuan ($18 million) in bribes to 518 municipal lawmakers and 68 other staff.

The provincial legislature disqualified the 56 lawmakers Dec 28 and legislative bodies in Hengyang accepted the resignations of 512 people who took bribes during the election of provincial lawmakers between Dec 28, 2012 and Jan 3, 2013.

Hu Guochu, former chairman of the Standing Committee of the Hengyang Municipal People’s Congress, has already been placed under judicial investigation for his suspected involvement in electoral fraud.

A total of 58 suspects have been charged so far.

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