China arrests former deputy banking regulator on bribery charges

Cai Esheng latest senior figure to be caught up in Beijing’s anti-graft crackdown.

Chinese flag flutters at Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People''s Court
China has arrested a former senior official at the nation’s banking regulator over alleged bribery [File: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters]

China arrested a former senior official at the nation’s banking regulator over alleged bribery, adding to a long list of executives and policy makers caught up in the nation’s latest anti-graft crackdown.

Cai Esheng, the former vice chairman at the banking watchdog who retired in 2013, also faces charges over the abuse of power, The Supreme People’s Procuratorate of the People’s Republic of China said on Thursday.

Cai, who was expelled from the Communist Party last month after being placed under a probe in July, is one of the highest ranking financial sector officials ensnared by President Xi Jinping’s multi-year anti-corruption drive. Born in 1951, Cai was in charge of supervising non-bank financial institutions, including trust firms and bad-debt managers such as China Huarong Asset Management Co., which received a $6.6 billion bailout last year. He remained active after retirement and was a frequent speaker at financial forums.

Huarong former Chairman Lai Xiaomin was executed in January last year for crimes including bribery.

China in October launched a nationwide anti-graft crackdown focused on the financial institutions and regulators, which has since taken down more than 20 officials in the stepped up scrutiny of the nation’s $54 trillion financial system. Wang Bin, the chairman of the country’s top life insurer China Life Insurance Co., was placed under investigation last month for suspected serious violations.

The government vowed to “show no mercy” in its battle against corruption following an anti-graft meeting in January, while state television aired a five-part documentary series called “Zero Tolerance,” featuring confessions of disgraced officials.

Source: Bloomberg