Wang Bin, the former chairman of one of China’s biggest life insurers, will spend the rest of his life in jail after a court found him guilty of corruption.
According to a ruling that was posted on Tuesday by an intermediate court in the city of Jinan, which is located in the eastern province of Shandong, China, Wang, 64, was given a death sentence that was suspended for two years. At the end of that time, he will serve a life sentence with no chance of commutation or parole.
He was viewed as at fault for taking around 325 million yuan ($44.6 million) worth of bribes and hiding overseas deposits of 56.4 million yuan ($7.8 million), as indicated by the court ruling.
Wang was accused of accepting bribes somewhere in the range of 1997 and 2021, when he headed various state-owned financial institutions, including China Life Insurance, China’s Bank of Communications and China Taiping Insurance. He allegedly concealed the illicit money in bank accounts in Hong Kong, the ruling said.
According to the ruling, “the circumstances of the crime were particularly serious, the social impact was particularly bad, and the amount of bribes Wang Bin accepted was particularly huge.”
He is the furthest down the line top chief to become caught in President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption crackdown on the country’s $56 trillion financial sector. The sentence came over a year after Wang, who was also the top Communist Party official at China Life, was investigated by the party’s top anti-graft agency.
He was one of more than a dozen famous people Beijing’s purge targeted.
China is now turning its anti-corruption fire on banks at an unsafe time for the economy. The list additionally include Li Xiaopeng, the former chairman of financial conglomerate China Everbright Group and Liu Liange, the former chairman of Bank of China, the country’s fourth largest lender.
Experts said the crackdown on the financial industry, which came a long time after Xi got a memorable third term in October 2022, was fundamentally pointed toward combining his power.
They believe Xi Xiaopeng needs to centralize control over the sprawling financial industry in order to deal with China’s serious economic woes and to prepare for a potential “financial war” with the United States.