Chinese Regime Expels Huarong Ex-Chairman Over Suspected Graft

By Reuters
October 15, 2018 Updated: October 15, 2018

BEIJING—The former chairman of China Huarong Asset Management Co Ltd, Lai Xiaomin, has been expelled from the Communist Party and will be prosecuted for suspected corruption, China’s top anti-graft agency said on Oct. 15.

Lai, one of the most senior executives to be brought to book in China’s anti-corruption campaign, was accused of a long list of wrongdoings, from cronyism and taking bribes, to the embezzlement of public property, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a statement on its website.

Lai, in violation of political disciplines and the central government’s financial policy, was accused of “blindly and disorderly” expanding Huarong away from its core business, causing adverse impact, the commission said.

It was not possible to reach Lai or a representative for comment.

Lai engaged in political opportunism and careerism, exchanged power for sex with several women, and flouted frugality rules by frequently accepting entertainment from private business owners in private clubs and high-end restaurants, it said.

Lai had also arranged company-paid travel for relatives and allowed them to use his influence to seek profit, the CCDI said.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has presided over a far-reaching anti-corruption drive since coming to power in 2012, punishing more than a million party members, jailing top military figures and retired security chief Zhou Yongkang, the most senior official toppled for corruption since 1949.

As a senior official of the Communist Party, Lai had lost his belief in communism and had practiced “superstitious activities,” the CCDI said.

He had been expelled from the party, it said. His illegal gains would be confiscated and the case would be transferred to judicial bodies for investigation, it added.

Lai was removed in April from his post as party chief and chairman of Huarong–one of China’s big four state-owned bad loan managers, and replaced by Wang Zhanfeng, a senior official at the banking regulator.

The next likely step against Lai will be to put him on trial.

Huarong’s Hong Kong-listed shares, which have a market value of HK$56.65 billion ($7.23 billion) dropped 3.45 percent around midday on Oct. 15. The shares have lost 62.47 percent in value since the beginning of the year.

By Shu Zhang