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Head of Chinese bank behind foreign building spree sentenced to life in prison

The Associated Press

The former chairman of the main Chinese state bank behind the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) initiative to build railways and ports across dozens of countries has been sentenced to life in prison on corruption charges, a court announced in early January 2021.

Hu Huaibang, pictured, was sentenced January 7 after being convicted of taking 85.5 million yuan (U.S. $13.2 million) in bribes between 2009 and 2019, according to the Intermediate People’s Court of Chengde, a city north of Beijing. It said he used his post to help others obtain jobs and loans.

Hu also was Communist Party secretary of China Development Bank, one of the world’s richest lenders.

The bank is the main source of financing for the PRC’s multibillion-dollar One Belt, One Road (OBOR) infrastructure scheme to expand trade by building railways, highways, ports, airports, power plants and other facilities across an arc of countries from the South Pacific through Asia, Africa and the Middle East to Europe.

OBOR has prompted complaints that some countries are left with debts they cannot repay. There was no indication Hu’s prosecution was connected to OBOR.

Convictions for economic crimes in the PRC can result in the death penalty. The court said Hu’s sentence was lenient because he confessed and returned the bribe money.

In an unrelated case, the former chairman of another government financial entity, Lai Xiaomin of Huarong Asset Management Co., was sentenced to death on charges of taking bribes.



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