China sentenced a top banker to death over bribery and bigamy charges, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.
Lai Xiaomin, an ex-chairman of the banking giant China Huarong Asset Management, was found guilty of accepting $277 million in bribes from 2008 to 2018. He's been called China's most corrupt financial official.
The Chinese Communist Party typically carries out executions by lethal injection. But it's not a typical punishment for corruption, which usually results in a life sentence, Bloomberg said.
Lai's death sentence came amid Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign. In 2018, the nation launched an agency that can pursue investigations outside the court system.
China has also cracked down on the tech industry and its leaders, including the Alibaba and Ant Group founder Jack Ma.
China sentenced a former finance chairman to death on charges of bribery and bigamy, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.
Lai Xiaomin, who has been called China's most corrupt financial official, was the focus of an investigation in 2018 into his time as the chairman of the banking giant China Huarong Asset Management. The Chinese government later found him guilty of accepting $277 million in bribes from 2008 to 2018.
The court in Tianjin City said on Tuesday that Lai "endangered national financial security and financial stability," according to Bloomberg. Last January, he confessed to taking bribes when he said he kept the money in an apartment but "didn't spend a cent."
The court will confiscate Lai's personal assets, including properties, luxury watches, and flashy cars, Bloomberg reported.
The Chinese Communist Party typically performs executions with lethal injections. Amnesty International estimated in 2019 that the nation had carried out thousands of executions.
Bloomberg noted that capital punishment is not typical in China for corruption convictions, which usually result in life in prison. A lawyer in Beijing told the outlet that Lai's sentence was likely due to the scale of the corruption and the attention it garnered. It also serves as a warning that China is willing to issue executions as punishment for corruption, the lawyer said.
Lai's death sentence came as part of an anti-corruption crusade led by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has been in power since 2012.
In early 2018, China created an agency to investigate any government official. The National Supervision Commission is permitted to operate outside China's court system, granting it a large amount of power; for example, it can detain a suspect for up to six months without granting them a lawyer's aid. China has punished more than 1.5 million officials, Bloomberg said.
But experts have said the agency's methods could do more harm than good in cracking down on political corruption.
China has also cracked down on the tech industry and leaders, including the Alibaba founder Jack Ma. He hasn't been seen in public since China yanked his fintech firm Ant Group's $37 billion initial public offering in early November, after he publicly snubbed the nation's regulatory system. Sources told CNBC this week that he was likely just lying low.
Ma isn't the only influential businessman to question China's authority and prompt greater government oversight. Xiao Jianhua, an asset manager, was abducted from a hotel in Hong Kong in 2017 after regulators accused him of siphoning investors from the country's stock markets. He disappeared into Chinese custody, and the government later took parts of his business.
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