China jails former China Development Bank chief Hu Huaibang for life for graft

William Zheng
·3-min read

A former top official of China’s key policy bank was sentenced to life in prison for taking the equivalent of more than US$13 million in bribes, state media reported on Thursday.

The Chengde Intermediate People’s Court in the northern province of Hebei sentenced Hu Huaibang, former Communist Party secretary and chairman of China Development Bank, to life behind bars for taking a total of 85.5 million yuan (about US$13.2 million) in bribes between 2009 and 2019, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

Hu also used his status to help others to obtain bank credit lines, and help with job promotions, according to the report.

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The court also ordered the seizure of all of Hu’s personal assets, the report said, adding that all of the bribery proceeds had been recovered. The court said Hu had decided not to appeal.

Ex-chairman of China Huarong Asset Management sentenced to death for bribery

Hu’s sentencing came two days after Lai Xiaomin, former chairman of one of China’s top four state asset managers, was given a death sentence for accepting 1.79 billion yuan in bribes.

The court said there were mitigating circumstances in Hu’s sentencing.

“Hu had truthfully confessed his crime and took the initiative to reveal incidents of bribery not yet known to the prosecutors,” CCTV quoted the court as saying in its decision.

“[He] admitted his guilt and repented for his crime, and actively returned the bribes. With statutory and discretionary mitigating circumstances, he can be punished lightly according to law.”

Former CDB chairman Hu Huaibang is sentenced to life in prison. Photo: Weibo
Former CDB chairman Hu Huaibang is sentenced to life in prison. Photo: Weibo

Hu, 65, was put under investigation by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, China’s top anticorruption body, in January 2020 and faced trial six months later.

His case appears to be related to those of former Gansu party chief Wang Sanyun and former CEFC China Energy chairman Ye Jianming.

CCTV reported in October 2018 that Wang was accused of helping two subsidiaries of Ye’s CEFC group secure billions of dollars in credit lines from Hu when he headed Bank of Communications and CDB.

Wang was sentenced to 12 years in jail in April 2019 for accepting 66.85 million yuan in bribes. Ye was detained by the CCDI in March 2018 but his fate since then is not known.

Hu worked his way up the Chinese financial ladder, reaching senior positions at regulators and state-owned banks before landing on the top jobs at Bank of Communications and China Development Bank.

CDB is one of China’s three policy banks, in charge of issuing loans towards Beijing’s strategic projects. It plays a crucial role in the financing of domestic infrastructure schemes and strategic investments overseas, including projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.

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