Chinese court sentences former banker to death for bribery

Bai Tianhui is second executive from Huarong Asset Management to be sentenced to death for corruption

Maroosha Muzaffar
Wednesday 29 May 2024 14:27 BST
Bai Tianhui during his sentencing at a court in Tianjin on 28 May
Bai Tianhui during his sentencing at a court in Tianjin on 28 May (Getty)

A Chinese court has sentenced a former banker to death for taking “extremely large” bribes, state media reported on Tuesday.

Bai Tianhui, former senior executive at one of the country’s largest asset management firms, Huarong Asset Management, was sentenced to “death, deprivation of political rights for life, and confiscation of all 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 heavy damage to interests of the country and the people,” the court said in its ruling, according to the broadcaster.

Bai was convicted of accepting bribes totalling over 1.1bn yuan (£119m) and for using his managerial positions to provide favourable treatments in “matters including project acquisition and corporate financing”.

It was not clear how Bai pleaded or if he would appeal the sentencing.

Bai is the second official from China Huarong to be sentenced to death for corruption. In January 2021, Lai Xiaomin, the former chairman of Huarong and Bai’s former boss, received the same sentence from the same court, according to the South China Morning Post.

China’s top corruption watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, initiated a major crackdown on the finance sector this year, following president Xi Jinping’s directive to strengthen the country’s financial power and mitigate risks.

Bai’s sentencing came just days after Cao Guangjing, a former senior official in central China, was sentenced to life in prison for accepting over 216m yuan (US$23.3m) in bribes and aiding insider trading.

A court found that Cao used his positions at the China Three Gorges Corporation and the Hubei government from 2004 to 2022 to take bribes and help others secure business contracts. He was also convicted of leaking information about a bailout plan for a Hubei-listed company in January 2021.

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