Former Chairman of China Development Bank Sentenced to Life in Prison for Graft

January 8, 2021 Updated: January 8, 2021

A Chinese court has sentenced Hu Huaibang, the former chairman of China Development Bank (CDB), to life in prison on bribery-related crimes. He is the second high-profile financial executive to be sentenced this week.

The Intermediate People’s Court of Chengde city, in China’s Hebei Province, handed down the sentence on Jan. 7. Hu’s personal property will also be confiscated by authorities.

Hu, who was arrested last February, was convicted of receiving bribes totaling 85.52 million yuan ($13.24 million) between 2009 and 2019, the court said in a statement on its official WeChat account. Hu is accused of giving preferential treatment to businesses and individuals in the form of bank loans, business operations, and job promotions in exchange for bribes.

Hu, 64, has held high-ranking positions in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s financial system. He joined the CDB in 2013. He was also director and Party chief of the Xi’an branch of China’s Central Bank; director of the Shaanxi branch of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange; head of the Commission for Discipline Inspection at the China Banking Regulatory Commission; deputy Party chief of the China Investment Corporation; Party chief and chairman of the Bank of Communications—one of China’s largest state-run banks.

The CDB is one of China’s policy banks, responsible for raising funds for large infrastructure projects.

Hu took advantage of his role when he was head of the anti-corruption watchdog agency, the Commission for Discipline Inspection, within China’s banking regulator. Under his watch, Hu’s wife, Xue Yingjuan, and his son, Hu Xiaodong, took valuable objects such as Chinese paintings or antiques, according to Chinese news portal Sina.

After Hu was placed under detention, his wife and son were both summoned by the national branch of the Commission for Discipline Inspection.

On May 8, Hu’s wife committed suicide by jumping off the building where they lived, according to Chinese financial news outlets.

The CCP’s financial sector has witnessed a string of corruption scandals in recent years, including Xiang Junbo, former chairman of the board of the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), and chief of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC); Liu Shiyu, former chief of China Securities Regulatory Commission; and most recently, Lai Xiaomin, former chairman of the board of China Huarong Asset Management.

On Jan. 5, a court in Tianjin sentenced Lai to death. Lai was convicted of receiving or seeking bribes totaling 1.788 billion yuan between 2008 and 2018.

Reuters contributed to this report.