China sentences former asset manager to death for ‘extremely large’ bribes

CARRY OFF: A Chinese court on Tuesday (May 28) sentenced a former executive at one of the country’s largest state-controlled asset management companies to death for accepting “extremely large” bribes, state media reported.

Bai Tianhui, former CEO of a subsidiary of bad debt manager Huarong Asset Management, was found guilty of receiving the equivalent of more than 1.1 billion yuan ($151.9 million) while using his management positions to offer favorable treatment. in “matters including project acquisition and business financing,” state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Huarong has been a major target of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s years-long corruption crackdown, and its former president Lai Xiaomin was executed in January 2021 for receiving $260 million in bribes.

Supporters say the anti-corruption campaign promotes clean governance, but critics say it also gives Xi the power to purge his political rivals.

The court sentenced Bai to “death, deprivation of his political rights for life and confiscation of all his personal property,” CCTV said.

“The value of Bai Tianhui’s bribery crime was extremely large, the circumstances of the crime were extremely serious, the social impact was extremely bad, and it caused extremely serious damage to the interests of the country and the people,” the court decided, according to the station.

China’s top leaders declared at a Politburo meeting on Monday that discussed financial risks that “those who fail to fulfill their duties will be held accountable and will be severely punished,” state news agency Xinhua said.

In recent months, several figures in China’s financial and banking sectors have been targeted by anti-corruption authorities.

In April, Liu Liange, president of the Bank of China from 2019 to 2023, admitted to having “illegally accepted bribes and granted loans.”

That same month, the former head of Chinese state-owned banking giant Everbright Group, Li Xiaopeng, was investigated for “serious violations” of the law.

China classifies death penalty statistics as a state secret, although Amnesty and other human rights groups believe thousands of people are executed in the country each year.