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Former Chinese top banker pleads guilty to massive graft

Hu Huaibang had worked his way up China's financial sector (AFP Photo/Odd ANDERSEN)
Hu Huaibang had worked his way up China's financial sector (AFP Photo/Odd ANDERSEN)

(AFP)

A former top banker in China pleaded guilty Thursday to illegally receiving over $12 million after being caught last year in President Xi Jinping’s sweeping campaign against corruption.

Hu Huaibang, former party secretary and chairman of the China Development Bank, had taken advantage of his positions to illegally receive money and goods worth a total of 85.5 million yuan ($12.2 million) between 2009 and 2019, heard a court in northern Chengde city.

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The accusations included using his status — and staff in other countries — to help obtain and increase bank credit lines, set up an auto finance company, and assist with job promotions, reported the state-run People’s Daily.

Hu pleaded guilty at the hearing attended by more than 30 people including national, provincial and municipal people’s congress representatives, the report added.

He will be sentenced at a later date.

More than one million officials have been punished in Xi’s crackdown on corruption, though critics say it has also served as a way for him to purge political rivals.

Hu had worked his way up China’s financial sector, moving between regulatory positions and state-owned companies before landing the top job at the Bank of Communications.

In 2013 he became chairman of China Development Bank and held the position until September 2018.

But his connection to fallen Chinese oil tycoon Ye Jianming, chairman of CEFC China Energy, appeared to have landed him in trouble.

In Hu’s roles at the Bank of Communications and the CDB, he allegedly helped CEFC secure billions in credit lines for its overseas deals.

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