China ex-bank manager sentenced to life imprisonment for corruption

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A Chinese former bank manager has been jailed for life over one of the country’s biggest corruption cases.

Xu Guojun, the head of a Bank of China branch in Southern China from 1993 to 2001, was convicted of embezzling 2.3 billion yuan ($325m; £255m).

The case is the latest development in President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption programme that is focused on the country’s $60tn financial industry.

Many banking officials and executives have been caught up in the crackdown.

According to statements from the court, Xu and two other former Bank of China employees took advantage of loopholes in the lender’s fund management system to obtain false loans.

Xu’s two accomplices were previously sentenced to 12 and 13 years in prison. More than 2 billion yuan of the stolen money has now been recovered, according to local media reports.

Xu, who fled to the US in 2001 but was forcibly repatriated two years ago, has said he would not appeal the conviction.

He has also been deprived of political rights for life with all his assets being confiscated.

Other high profile financial executives from Chinese state-owned banks have also been fined, jailed, or are currently under investigation.

President Xi has said that Beijing needs to crack down on the “hedonistic” lifestyles of bankers.

In October, a former chairman of the Bank of China was arrested over suspicion of bribery and giving illegal loans.

Liu Liange, chairman of the state-owned bank from 2019 to 2023, had resigned from his position in March this year.

Former chairman of China Life Insurance Wang Bin was sentenced to life in prison without parole for bribery in September.

The push to weed out corruption in the country’s financial industry appears to be ramping up, with officials in April warning that the crackdown was far from over.

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