A Chinese court sentenced a former banker and party Official to death in a high-prOfile bribery, embezzlement and bigamy case that shocked the country.
Lai Xiaomin, formerly chairman Of one Of China’s “big four” state-controlled asset management firms, China Huarong Asset Management Co, pleaded guilty to the dozens Of charges. He had been accused Of soliciting nearly 1.79 billion yuan ($276.7 a million) in bribes over 10 years, a period in which he also acted as a regulator. The Tianjin court said Lai had abused his position to obtain “extremely large” bribes and that the circumstances were “particularly dire”, including taking bribes to obtain jobs, promotions or contracts.
He was also convicted Of bigamy, for “living as husband and wife” with another woman and fathering children, and embezzling more than 25 a million yuan in public funds.
” Lai Xiaomin was illegal and extremely greedy,” the court statement said. Personal property will also be confiscated and your political rights will be stripped.
The death sentence for Lai, in one Of China’s largest financial crime cases, was passed without a two-year stay, a commonly added warning that allows death sentences to be commuted to 25 years or life in prison after two years.
The case has shocked China. Lai reportedly kept safes and cabinets full Of cash inside a Beijing flat that he dubbed “the supermarket.” It is also said that he had gold bullion and luxury cars, a bank account in his mother’s name with hundreds Of a millions Of yuan and more than 100 lovers to whom he gave properties developed by a Huarong real estate subsidiary, the group. Of Chinese media. Cabin reported.
Lai was placed under investigation in April 2018 and expelled from the Chinese Communist Party. State media released a detailed confession from Lai, who said that “he didn’t spend a penny, and he just kept it there … I didn’t dare to spend it.”
The Tianjin court said Lai’s crimes mainly occurred after the 18th Communist Party Congress in 2012, which had launched an anti-corruption campaign that defined the term Of President Xi Jinping. During Xi’s campaign, a million Officials they have been investigated or sanctioned, and there have been accusations that it has been used to get rid Of political opponents.
The campaign has had little effect on China’s rankings in Transparency International’s global corruption index, where the country ranked 80th in 2020 but won over the public, with 84% telling Transparency International that the government was doing a good job against corruption.
While the crimes for which Lai was convicted outnumber those Of high-ranking corrupt party Officials, economic crimes generally attract a prison sentence or a two-year pardon with one sentence. Mo Shaping, a Chinese lawyer, said that the scale Of Lai’s crimes gave “legal justification” to the death penalty, but that he was the first such person in recent years to be sentenced without the possibility Of commutation. ” The death penalty with clemency is no longer sufficient for the ire Of citizens, nor is it sufficient for deterrence,” he said.
According to Amnesty International, China executes more people than any other country. Beijing does not disclose death penalty figures, but is believed to sentence thousands Of people to death a year for crimes including non-violent crimes such as drugs and corruption.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism