Disgraced Financial Big Shot Sentenced to Death for Bribery
A former chairman of one of China’s four largest state-owned bad-debt managers, Lai Xiaomin, was sentenced to death for bribery on Tuesday by a court in North China’s Tianjin municipality, according to a court statement (link in Chinese).
Lai was convicted of taking a record 1.79 billion yuan ($276.8 million) of bribes — including 104 million yuan of bribes that ultimately failed to occur — from 2008 to 2018 in exchange for his help in financing, promotions and more. He was also convicted of bigamy and colluding with others to embezzle 25.1 million yuan of public funds.
The punishments for the three crimes combined were the death sentence, deprivation of political rights for life and confiscation of all personal property.
The court said Lai’s crimes were “extremely severe” and caused significant damage to the interests of the Chinese nation and people, threatening the country’s financial security and stability.
Lai’s case shocked the public due to its astonishing details, such as the metric tons of cash stashed at his home, the 300 million yuan bank account under his mother’s name, and his over 100 mistresses.
In Depth: Bad Business at a ‘Bad Bank’
Also an ex-Communist Party chief of the bad-debt manager, China Huarong Asset Management Co. Ltd., Lai was expelled from the party and removed from public office in October 2018. In April that year, it was announced that he had been placed under graft investigation.
According to a statement from the country’s top anti-graft body released in 2018, Lai was a “bad political influence” who had gone against the central government’s financial work guidelines and instructions. The watchdog said his “blind expansion and chaotic management” had led the company to seriously deviate from its main responsibilities and core businesses.
During his five-year-plus tenure as Huarong chairman, Lai oversaw an aggressive expansion that transformed the company from what he once called a “marginalized” company into one of the biggest players in China’s financial industry. By fueling risky business endeavors and ambiguous ties with private borrowers, the company grew into a financial conglomerate, handling securities, trust, banking and financial leasing businesses.
A real estate subsidiary of Huarong once developed 120 properties in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, 100 of which Lai gave to his ex-wife and many mistresses, Caixin previously reported.
Since Lai’s fall, Huarong’s new management has tried to both eradicate his lingering influence inside the company and get back to focusing on its core distressed-debt business.
Contact reporter Guo Yingzhe (email@example.com) and editor Joshua Dummer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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