Bribery: Chinese Asset Manager sentenced to death

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Lai Xiaomin, the former chairman of China Huarong Asset Management Co, has been sentenced to death in China for accepting bribes worth N$4,2 billion.

According to a Bloomberg report, Lai came under investigation in 2018, and was also found guilty of corruption and bigamy, a Tianjin City court found.

He received 1,79 billion yuan (N$4,2 billion) in bribes between 2008 and 2018, and all his personal assets would be confiscated, the ruling said.

Lai is not the first Chinese national to pay with his life for graft.

A former vice mayor in China’s Shanxi province was sentenced to death in 2018 on similar charges.

Capital punishment is unusual for corruption in China, but it is understood that the current move underscores the ruling Communist Party’s increasingly tough stance on this crime among government cadres and corporate executives, which has seen more than 1,5 million government officials punished.

In 2016 China raised the threshold for capital punishment related to corruption to three million yuan from 100 000 yuan, but the penalty has seldom been implemented.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Mo Shaoping, a Beijing-based lawyer, said it’s rare that bribery cases result in the death penalty, but many perpetrators have been sentenced to life in prison.

“The amount of corruption is particularly huge, likely the biggest in recent years. The case has also sparked public outrage. A death sentence is definitely sending a warning, and most importantly, it shatters the belief that corruption is not punishable by death,” Mo said regarding Lai’s case.

Officials who have been imprisoned include Yang Jiacai, a former assistant vice chairman at the banking regulator, and Yao Gang, former vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

They have each been sentenced to at least 16 years in prison.

Last year China sentenced property tycoon Ren Zhiqiang to 18 years on graft charges to the value of N$304 million between 2003 and 2017.

Chinese regulators are also stepping up efforts to prevent financial risks amid an economic slowdown, and late last year halted the initial public offering to crack down on billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Group.

In Namibia, two former Cabinet ministers, Sacky Shanghala and Bernhard Esau face fraud, corruption and money laundering charges.

Investec Asset Management Namibia’s former managing director, James Hatuikulipi, and Investec Namibia’s client manager, Ricardo Gustavo, are also behind bars on these charges.

*Additional reporting, Bloomberg

The NAMIBIA

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