May 23, 2017 / 10:57 AM / 6 months ago

China broadens anti-graft drive to include a senior banking regulator

BEIJING (Reuters) - A top official at China’s banking regulator is being investigated for suspected disciplinary violations, the country’s top anti-graft body said, broadening the country’s anti-corruption drive to include more financial supervisors.

Yang Jiacai, the assistant chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), is suspected of serious violations of discipline, a phrase that usually refers to graft, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a brief statement on Wednesday.

Yang and the CBRC could not immediately be reached for comment after normal business hours.

Yang’s investigation brings the country’s banking regulator squarely in the crosshairs of China’s ongoing anti-corruption efforts, and follows the announcement last month that the head of the country’s insurance regulator, Xiang Junbo, was also under investigation.

China’s Premier Li Keqiang warned in a speech earlier this year that authorities would investigate and punish corruption in the financial sector.

“Individual regulators and senior company executives who have embezzled money entrusted to them or illegally colluded with financial crocodiles must be severely punished,” Li said.

Yang, 56, is a native of Hubei and served for six years at China’s central bank before moving to the CBRC in 2003. Between 2007 and 2012, Yang was the CBRC’s director of bank supervision.

China’s anti-graft crackdown in the financial sector has also targeted senior executives.

In February, Wang Yincheng, vice chairman of state-owned People’s Insurance Group of China, was put under investigation for suspected corruption, and a former Communist Party boss at Bank of Jiangsu Co Ltd also was put under investigation.

Reporting by Matthew Miller; Editing by Susan Thomas and Mark Potter

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