China jails bank official for life over corruption

SHANGHAI (AFP) - A Chinese court has given a former executive of one of the country's "Big Four" state banks a life sentence for taking bribes of 30.8 million yuan (S$6.63 million), it said Wednesday.

Yang Kun, former vice-president of Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), was recently sentenced, the Jiangsu Provincial Higher People's Court announced on its verified microblog.

From 2005 to 2012, Yang took advantage of his positions at the bank and a financial leasing arm to seek benefits for companies and individuals, accepting bribes worth 30.8 million yuan, it said.

Yang, who was expelled from the Communist Party and removed from his posts in 2013, was tried by the Nanjing Intermediate People's Court in June last year.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has touted a crackdown on graft since assuming the Communist Party's top post in 2012, targeting both high-level "tigers" and low-level "flies".

The Bank of Beijing, a mid-sized Chinese lender, said Tuesday that director Lu Haijun was being investigated by authorities for "serious disciplinary violations", a term that typically refers to corruption.

Reports last week said Mao Xiaofeng, president of China's largest privately-owned lender Minsheng Bank, had been taken away for questioning in a corruption investigation.

Earlier probes have mainly focussed on government officials, but state-run media have warned that "the anti-graft storm is going to sweep over the financial sector".