February 4, 2015 / 10:24 AM / in 3 years

China jails former Agricultural Bank VP for life for taking bribes

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A Chinese court jailed the former vice president of Agricultural Bank of China Ltd for life for accepting more than 30 million yuan ($4.80 million) in bribes, including works of art and gold bars, the latest casualty in an anti-corruption drive that is now targeting the finance sector.

The sentence comes after China Minsheng Banking Corp’s president, Mao Xiaofeng, resigned on Saturday for personal reasons following reports in Chinese media that he was being investigated by the country’s graft watchdog.

A Nanjing court stripped former party member Yang Kun of his political privileges and confiscated all his personal property, according to a statement posted on Wednesday to the official Weibo site of the Jiangsu High People’s Court.

Yang Kun “used his position for his own benefit”, the statement said.

Between 2005 and 2012, Yang used his positions of power, including authority over loan approvals, management and IT, to take bribes in U.S. dollars, HK dollars, gold bars, rosewood furniture and paintings by famous artists, the court said, adding that his wife’s brother was involved.

The statement did not say when the judgment was passed.

The bank was not immediately available for comment.

Yang, who resigned in July 2012, joined the country’s third-largest listed lender in 2002.

President Xi Jinping’s push to counter graft has ensnared a series of senior financiers, with investigations implicating the board director of Bank of Beijing Co Ltd for disciplinary violations on Tuesday and the chairman of China Guangfa Bank Co Ltd in September.

The probes into the financial sector come as part of Xi’s broader campaign to root out corruption at major state-run conglomerates, and within government ranks, including in the military and domestic security forces.

($1 = 6.2472 yuan)

Reporting by Engen Tham; Editing by Michael Martina and Nick Macfie

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