China's former insurance regulator pleads guilty to taking $3m bribes

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Xiang Junbo, the former head of now defunct China Insurance Regulatory Commission, has admitted to taking $3m in bribes at a court case held in China today.

According to various local reports and China’s state media, China’s former insurance regulator pleaded guilty in court on Thursday to taking bribes.

The case come a year after he was sacked amid China’s ruling Communist Party’s campaign against dubious financial services. Junbo was head of the now dismantled China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC). Xiang is highest-ranking finance official that has been caught out by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on the Chinese financial services industry.

Prosecutors at a court in eastern Jiangsu province heard that Xiang had abused his power not only as head of the insurance watchdog, but also earlier in his career while holding senior positions at the People’s Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China, according to the reports.

The 61-year-old has been accused of taking bribes totalling 19.4 million yuan ($3m) in exchange for helping organisations and individuals secure contracts, loans, qualifications and personnel promotions, Xinhua reported.

The court did not give a date for sentencing.

Xiang’s wife
Prosecutors said Xiang accepted bribes both directly and through an associate, whom they identified as Yang Guang, who The Economic Observer, a Chinese financial newspaper, reported that Yang is Xiang’s wife. The report added that she was being prosecuted separately.

The newspaper said also that one of Xiang’s senior personal secretaries at the CIRC had been indicted, while one of his junior secretaries had been sacked from the agency and expelled from the party but was not facing prosecution.
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Xiang was removed from his position at the CIRC in April last year and the former watchdog no longer exists as an autonomous agency after it was merged with the banking regulator in March this year.

Xiang was appointed head of the CIRC in 2011. In his six years at the helm the value of China’s insurance industry almost tripled, and several firms grew exponentially.

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Gary Robinson

Commercial Director, Head of Video at International Investment.

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