Caixin
Jul 25, 2022 07:41 PM
FINANCE

Graft Investigators Target Regulatory Official Linked to Henan Bank Scandal

What’s new: An official once responsible for overseeing village banks in Central China’s Henan province has been placed under investigation by anti-graft agencies in the wake of a multibillion-dollar banking scandal.

Li Huanting, an inspector at the provincial branch of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), is suspected of serious violations of law and Communist Party discipline, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a statement Sunday, without offering further details. Such announcements typically allude to corruption.

Li, who is around 60, joined the Henan branch of the now–defunct China Banking Regulatory Commission in 2003. From January 2012 to October 2018, Li led the branch’s division that was in charge of supervising village banks, according to the CCDI.

Two of the four local village banks being investigated for freezing tens of billions of yuan in customer savings since April were set up during Li’s tenure.

The background: The four Henan lenders, along with another two in neighboring Anhui province, have been subject to scrutiny since customers complained in mid-April that they couldn’t make withdrawals online. The scandal triggered protests in June that turned violent.

Police in Henan have arrested at least two batches of suspects in the scandal, according to their statements since June. Authorities have been looking into the links between the banks and Henan Xincaifu Group Investment Holding Co. Ltd., a private company that colluded with bank executives and used online platforms to illegally take public deposits.

Plans have been announced by the CBIRC’s Henan office and the provincial government-run financial regulatory bureau this month to repay depositors in stages.

Related: Four Things to Know About China’s Henan Rural Bank Scandal

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full story in Chinese, click here.

Contact reporter Kelsey Cheng (kelseycheng@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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