China Life Insurance Ex-Chairman Wang Bin Gets Death Sentence as Beijing Tightens War on Corruption

Former China Life Insurance chairman Wang Bin has been imprisoned, as part of Beijing's ongoing campaign to combat improprieties in the financial sector.

Wang Bin

According to reports based on the court's decision, Wang has been handed a death sentence with a two-year deferral. Following this initial period, the sentence will be commuted to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.

Back in April, authorities had made it clear that their campaign against financial misconduct remained active and far from concluded. Wang was found guilty by a court in Jinan, situated in Shandong province, Eastern China, primarily for accepting bribes totaling 325 million yuan (equivalent to $44.6 million or £35.7 million). Additionally, Wang, who also held the position of Communist Party leader within the company, received an additional one-year prison sentence for unlawfully concealing 54.2 million yuan in offshore accounts.

This case adds to the growing list of former leaders of major Chinese financial institutions ensnared in President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign within an industry valued at $60 trillion (£48 trillion). Notably, Bao Fan, a prominent billionaire banker in China and CEO of China Renaissance Holdings, has been "cooperating with authorities in an ongoing investigation" since his disappearance in February.

In June, Fan Yifei, a deputy governor of China's central bank, was apprehended on suspicion of bribery and currently faces a criminal investigation, along with expulsion from the Communist Party. An inquiry into Liu Liange, the party chief of the Bank of China, was launched in March. Liu is suspected of "serious violations of discipline and law," according to authorities.

Cai Esheng, a former banking regulator who retired a decade ago, faced prosecution last year on charges related to receiving "significant" bribes. In 2021, Lai Xiaomin, the former chairman of Huarong, one of China's largest state-controlled asset management companies, was executed after being found guilty of corruption and bigamy.During that same year, former China Development Bank chairman Hu Huaibang was sentenced to life imprisonment for his involvement in an 85.5 million yuan bribery case.