Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Ex-Chairman of China’s Huarong Asset Management firm pleads guilty to bribery

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Lai Xiaomin, former chairman of the board of China Huarong Asset Management, pleaded guilty to accepting over 1.78 billion yuan (US$256 million) in bribes and being involved in other corruption and bigamy at his trial in Tianjin on Tuesday, China Daily reports.

Prosecutors accused Lai of taking advantage of positions he held from 2008 to 2018, including serving as director of the general office of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, president and chairman of Huarong Asset Management and secretary of the Party Committee of Huarong Xiangjiang Bank Co, to earn illegal profits for companies and individuals. Lai was also found to have used his power to reap illegal benefits for others through other officials.

In return, Lai accepted money and properties worth over 1.78 billion yuan, more than 104 million yuan of which Lai had not yet received.

The Second Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin said it would hand down a sentence later.

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Huarong is a State-owned nonbanking financial institution approved by the State Council and under Ministry of Finance management. Its main business is to dispose of nonperforming assets of State-owned banks.

Lai operated the company aggressively and expanded rapidly, setting up dozens of subsidiaries and branches, making it into a financial group fully licensed in banking, securities, trusts, investment, futures and financial services, causing the company to seriously deviate from its main functions, the court found.

From the end of 2009 to January 2018, Lai and others illegally seized public funds totaling more than 25.13 million yuan.

The 58-year-old also lived with another woman as husband and wife for a long time and had two children with her while he was legally married to another woman.

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Lai was investigated by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission in April 2018. Six months later, he was removed from office and expelled from the Communist Party, and his case was transferred to the procuratorial organs.

According to a China Central Television documentary, investigators in 2018 found a house in Beijing where Lai hid illegal payments. The cash stored amounted to more than 200 million yuan. In addition to cash, Lai also received houses, cars, watches, gold, paintings and calligraphy.

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