China jails former bank official for life over corruption

KONFRONTASI - A Chinese court has sentenced a former executive of one of the country’s main state banks to life in prison for accepting millions of dollars in bribes, including works of art and gold bars.

According to a statement by the Jiangsu High People’s Court on Wednesday, the former vice president of Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), Yang Kun, has been given the life sentence for taking bribes worth 30.8 million yuan (about USD 5.0 million).

It added that the convicted bank official has been also stripped of his privileges and all his personal properties have been confiscated. The statement, however, did not say when the judgment was passed.

Yang, who served as the ABC vice president between 2005 and 2012, used his positions of power, including authority over loan approvals, management and IT, to take bribes in US dollars, Hong Kong dollars, gold bars, rosewood furniture and paintings by famous artists.

He was expelled from the Communist Party and removed from his post in 2013. The former bank official stood trial at the Nanjing Intermediate People’s Court in June last year.

Yang’s sentence comes days after China Minsheng Banking Corp. said its President Mao Xiaofeng resigned and a magazine reported that he is being investigated by Chinese authorities.

Minsheng, China’s first privately-owned lender founded in 1996 by 59 private investors and having a market capitalization of about USD 50 billion, said Mao stepped down for “personal reasons.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping has intensified a crackdown on graft since assuming the Communist Party’s top post in 2012.

The measure has been described by state media as the harshest since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in October 1949.

The anti-graft campaign affected Bank of Beijing Co. Ltd. board director, Lu Haijun, for disciplinary violations on February 3, and the former chairman of China Guangfa Bank Co. Ltd., Li Ruohong, in September last year.[ptv]