Former Bank of China boss arrested on corruption charges

Former Bank of China boss arrested on corruption charges

16 Oct 2023 ( The Guardian )

China has arrested the former head of one of the country’s largest commercial banks on charges of accepting bribes and illegally granting loans, amid a two-year anti-corruption drive targeting the financial sector.

China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), which is investigating corruption within the ruling Communist party, said on Monday that Liu Liange had been arrested, after announcing the start of the investigation in March.

President Xi Jinping has made fighting corruption a key part of his political project as he has cemented his position as paramount leader. A wave of bankers and financiers have faced investigation since authorities started targeting the financial sector in late 2021.

The CCDI has warned the financial sector against “hedonism” and “high-end lifestyles”, while banks have reportedly reduced bonuses and pay for top staff.

Xi has long said that the financial sector must serve the real economy, which is struggling with slowing growth and high youth unemployment.

Other people in the financial sector under investigation or charged include Wang Yawei, a star fund manager in China, according to Reuters. Wang Bin, the former chair of China Life Insurance, one of China’s biggest insurers, will spend the rest of his life in prison after a court last month found him guilty of corruption and gave him a suspended death sentence.

Liu was expelled from the Communist party last week, after accusations by the CCDI that he brought prohibited publications into the country, illegally took bribes and accepted entertainment at private clubs and ski resorts.

The list of accusations against him was long and included ideological failings such as abandoning his beliefs and being unwilling to implement Communist party decisions, and financial and governance failings.

Bank of China is one of the “big four” state-owned Chinese banks. It ranks as one of the top 11 banks in importance to global financial stability, making it a key part of the global financial system, according to the Financial Stability Board, and is the fourth largest bank by assets in the world, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

It is owned by the Chinese state but operates commercially, as opposed to the People’s Bank of China, the central bank.

Bank of China was approached for comment.