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Investment Banker Stirs Up Bond Underwriting Business with Bribes, Ratings Help

By Yue Yue and Lin Jinbing / Mar 08, 2019 09:53 AM / Politics & Law

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

An investment banker convicted of bribery has brought new meaning to the concept of “hard sell.”

The man, Liu Sijia, did his homework before landing a bond-underwriting deal by persuading a credit ratings agency into giving the bond issuing company a higher credit rating, while promising kickbacks to the issuer’s senior executives.

Liu, an employee in the investment banking division of Great Wall Securities, bribed two senior executives of a local state-owned enterprise (SOE) in 2016 with 3 million yuan ($446,750), according to a court file released Monday. Liu was sentenced to five years for bribery and fined.

In 2015, the state-owned Taizhou Traffic Industry Group in the East China city of Taizhou first planned to use Haitong Securities to underwrite a 2 billion yuan bond offering. But then things began to change.

At the request of Taizhou Traffic Industry Chairman Huang Jinrong, Liu persuaded China Chengxin International Credit Rating into raising the SOE’s credit rating to AA+. Huang changed his mind and decided to have the bond offering underwritten by Great Wall Securities, replacing Haitong.

In 2016, Great Wall Securities earned an underwriting fee of 40 million yuan, double what Haitong would have gotten. After the bond’s issue, Liu gave Huang and Wu Jing, the company’s financial director, 3 million yuan. Huang and Wu have also been sentenced to jail time and fined.

Related: Four Ex-Executives of Scandal-Hit Bad-Asset Bank to Face Bribery Charges

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