China: Former top official of bank under investigation for suspected corruption

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Zhang Hongli, the former vice president of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), is under investigation for suspected corruption, China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said on Saturday (Nov 4). According to the commission, Zhang was suspected of serious disciplinary and legal violations. The ruling Communist Party did not provide any further details.

He is the latest former top banker to come under official scrutiny over corruption allegations as Chinese President Xi Jinping has waged a sweeping campaign on deep-seated official corruption since coming to power more than a decade back. 

A few weeks back, the country’s top prosecutor formally arrested Bank of China’s former chairperson Liu Lian’ge following months of investigation. Lian’ge, 62, had been under investigation for severe violations of discipline and law, the anti-corruption watchdog said. 

He was arrested on suspicion of taking bribes and illegally granting loans. 

At the start of October, Li Xiaopeng, the former head of Everbright Group, was fired from the Communist Party and dismissed from public service. Li accepted gifts and money, defied a party policy on improving conduct and “attempted to obstruct the investigation into his case”.

“Li had sought benefits for others in the selection and appointment of officials and took advantage of his power to secure profits for his relatives in their business operating activities,” a report by the Xinhua news agency said. 

Li had previously served in leadership positions in various major Chinese banks. The investigation found that Li accepted bribes, illegally held stakes in non-listed companies, and misused power to grant loans and business contracts in exchange for money. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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