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A second ex-Huarong executive sentenced to death over bribery

Tan KW
Publish date: Tue, 28 May 2024, 08:36 PM
Tan KW
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China has sentenced an ex-official with China Huarong International Holdings Ltd to death with no reprieve on bribery charges, making a rare death sentence for a second time in years on a senior financial executive as the authorities step up a crackdown on financial crimes.

Bai Tianhui, a former general manager at Huarong, was handed the sentence by a Tianjin court on Tuesday, according to China Central Television. Bai had committed “serious crimes” and taken a “huge amount” of bribes totaling 1.1 billion yuan , the report said.

Bai is the second former executive facing a death sentence and linked to Huarong. Lai Xiaomin, the former Huarong chairman, was executed in 2021 for bribery. While most Chinese officials and executives facing death sentences on corruption charges have been given reprieve in recent years, those that caused massive losses or severe conditions get no respite.

Huarong is a key offshore financing unit of troubled asset manager China Huarong Asset Management, which was renamed China Citic Financial Asset Management in January after it was taken over by state-owned conglomerate Citic Group.

China President Xi Jinping has shifted his policy focus to tackling financial risks as his administration tries to stabilise the world’s second largest economy. At a Politburo meeting on Monday, Xi told the nation’s financial regulators and local governments to shoulder greater responsibility for defusing risks.

The government will implement a new set of rules on evaluating officials’ performance in resolving financial risks, an overhaul that will send a “powerful signal” for holding officials accountable and making sure that financial regulations “have teeth”, Xi said.

Xi’s years-long anti-graft campaign has taken down more than 1.5 million government officials. It has picked up pace in recent years, with a campaign targeting the finance industry ensnaring more than 130 officials and executives last year alone.

Senior financial executives caught up in recent years’ probes include Wang Bin, ex-chairman of China’s top insurer, and Tian Huiyu, former president of China Merchants Bank Co, and both were given a suspended death sentence.

 


  - Bloomberg

 

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