China insurance boss jailed for life in corruption crackdown

Wang Bin, former Chairman of China Life Insurance Limited in 2021.
Image caption,Former China Life Insurance chairman Wang Bin

By Peter Hoskins

Business reporter

The former chairman of China Life Insurance, Wang Bin, has become the latest high-profile boss to be imprisoned as Beijing’s crackdown on the financial industry continues.

Mr Wang was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve, according to a court ruling seen by the BBC.

After two years, the sentence will be commuted to life in prison without parole, the ruling says.

In April, authorities warned that the crackdown was far from over.

A court in Jinan in eastern China’s Shandong province found Mr Wang guilty of taking 325 million yuan ($44.6m; £35.7m) in bribes.

Mr Wang, who was the firm’s Communist Party chief, was also sentenced to a year in prison for illegally hiding 54.2 million yuan in overseas deposits.

He is the latest boss from a major Chinese financial institution to be ensnared in President Xi Jinping’s more than two-year longcrackdown on corruption in the $60 trillion (£48 trillion) industry.

In 2021, Lai Xiaomin, the former chairman of Huarong – one of China’s biggest state-controlled asset management companies – was executed after being found guilty of corruption and bigamy.

The same year, former China Development Bank chairman Hu Huaibang was sentenced to life in prison in a 85.5 million yuan bribery case.

Bao Fan, one of the country’s most high-profile billionaire bankers and the chief executive of China Renaissance Holdings, has been “cooperating in an investigation being carried out by certain authorities” since his disappearance in February this year.

An investigation into Bank of China’s party chief Liu Liange was launched in March. Mr Liu is suspected of “serious violations of discipline and law,” authorities said.

In April, authorities said they were investigating Li Xiaopeng, the former chairman of state-owned asset management firm China Everbright Group.

Fan Yifei, a deputy governor of the country’s central bank, was arrested for suspected bribery in June and is facing a criminal investigation. He has also been expelled from the Communist Party.

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