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Ex-head of China insurance regulator pleads guilty to bribes

AFP  |  Beijing 

The former of China's regulator pleaded guilty to accepting 19 million (USD 3 million) in bribes at his trial in eastern province on Thursday, said.

Xiang Junbo, 61, admitted to taking bribes directly and through an associate and "showed repentance" at Changzhou Intermediate People's Court, the state-run agency reported. The court has not yet issued its verdict.

The most senior financial regulator to be targeted in Xi Jinping's ongoing corruption crackdown, Xiang was accused of taking advantage of his official positions from 2005 to 2017.

He allegedly provided assistance in project contracting, approvals, loan issuance, and other tasks in exchange for compensation.

Xiang was appointed to the top job at the regulatory commission in 2011, following stints as of the central and of the state-owned of

He was put under investigation in April last year by the Communist Party's anti-corruption watchdog for suspected "serious disciplinary violations", a phrase that usually refers to graft.

He was removed from his position immediately after the probe began.

Xiang's time as of the regulator marked a period of rapid growth for the industry as he pushed for the liberalisation of investment rules, which allowed Chinese insurers to invest more of their assets at home and abroad.

But this led to regulatory headaches after several high-profile cases in which companies used their financial holdings to fund risky acquisitions in and unlisted equities.

The and the Regulatory Commission were replaced by a and after a major restructuring of government agencies in March.

Xiang's guilty plea comes a month after the former high-flying head of troubled Anbang Insurance Group, Wu Xiaohui, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for defrauding the company of more than USD 10 billion.

Wu was toppled as Anbang's head last year and China's announced an unprecedented takeover of the conglomerate in February, as the government moves to prevent heavily indebted large private companies from collapsing and posing a risk to the financial system.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, June 14 2018. 18:40 IST