A court in eastern China has indicted the man long considered China's No. 1 fugitive on charges of bribery and running a $10 billion smuggling ring.
Lai Changxing fought extradition from Canada for 12 years but was deported in July after Beijing assured Ottawa that he wouldn't face the death penalty.
The state-run Global Times newspaper reported Tuesday that a local court in the coastal city of Xiamen had accepted an indictment from prosecutors and begun hearing the case against Lai.
The move brings authorities a step closer to a conclusion in one of China's most lurid, long-running corruption cases.
Lai is accused of masterminding a network that smuggled everything from cigarettes to cars and oil and bribed dozens of government workers between 1996 and 1999.