Tuesday, January 26, 2021

China Development Bank ex-chairman sentenced to life in prison for bribery

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China sentenced Hu Huaibang, a former chairman of the nation’s biggest policy bank, to life imprisonment on charges of corruption, the second harsh punishment doled out this week in a sign President Xi Jinping is escalating a campaign to crack down on lawbreaking state officials.

Hu was found guilty of taking bribes totaling 85.5 million yuan ($13 million) during his tenure at China Development Bank Co. between 2009 and 2019, according to the ruling of Chengde Intermediate Court. Hu pleaded guilty, according to a court statement.

Lai Xiaomin, the former chairman of state-controlled Huarong Asset Management Co., was on Tuesday in a rare move condemned to death after receiving $277 million in bribes. The sentences underscore the ruling Communist Party’s increasingly tough stance on corruption among government cadres and corporate executives. More than 1.5 million government officials have been punished in the years-long campaign.

Other officials who have been caught up in Xi’s dragnet in recent years include Yang Jiacai, a former assistant vice chairman at the banking regulator and Yao Gang, who was vice chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commission. They were both sentenced to at least 16 years in prison in 2018.

Hu, 65, has been under investigation since 2019. Earlier, he was identified in a China State Central Television report for helping facilitate a $4.8 billion credit line to the now failed conglomerate CEFC China Energy Co.

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