Former top Chinese banker to face graft charges

Former top Chinese banker expelled from party for graft, handed over to prosecutors

Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) -- A former top Chinese banker has been expelled from the ruling Communist Party for taking bribes and turned over to prosecutors, the government said Monday, following reports he was implicated in huge improper loans.

Yang Kun, a former vice president of Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., was expelled from the party after investigators concluded he "took advantage of his position to seek favors for others and received huge bribes," the Ministry of Supervision said.

The brief statement gave no details. But earlier news reports said Yang might be linked to an investigation into 3 billion yuan ($475 million) in improper loans used by a real estate developer to pay gambling debts.

In previous cases, once an official is expelled from the party on corruption allegations, a conviction in court follows almost automatically.

One of China's four main state-owned commercial lenders, Agricultural Bank is also one of the world's biggest banks, with some $2.1 trillion in assets.

Yang is the highest-ranking banker ensnared in a corruption case since a former president of China Construction Bank Ltd., the country's fifth-biggest commercial lender, was jailed in 2006.

Yang has been in the custody of party investigators since last May, the business magazine Caixin had reported, citing unidentified sources.

Caixin said Yang was being investigated in three separate cases, one of which involved a real estate developer who improperly used bank loans to repay debts to Macau casinos. It said Yang blocked efforts to call in the loan.

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Ministry of Supervision (in Chinese): www.mos.gov.cn

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