Beijing – The former chairman of state-owned Chinese banking giant Everbright Group has been arrested on suspicion of corruption and bribery, prosecutors said on Monday.
The national corruption authority had “concluded its investigation into the suspected corruption and bribery case of Tang Shuangning, former party secretary and chairman of China Everbright Group, and transferred the case to the procuratorate for review and prosecution”, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
His arrest comes as China’s financial sector is increasingly in the crosshairs of President Xi Jinping’s vast anti-corruption campaign.
Xi, who began his second decade as China’s top leader in 2022 in a break with longstanding political norms, has waged a sweeping campaign against deep-seated official corruption since coming to power.
Proponents say the policy promotes clean governance, while critics say it helps Xi purge political rivals.
Xi this month ordered “greater efforts” to fight corruption in “finance, state-owned enterprises, energy, medicine and infrastructure” in a speech to the ruling Communist Party’s anti-graft agency.
The watchdog said earlier this month that it was kicking Tang out of the party, accusing him of bringing unauthorised political books into the country and illegally accepting gifts such as “famous artists’ calligraphy and paintings”.
Tang “resisted organisational censorship”, “coveted pleasure” and “failed to prevent and resolve financial risks, violating the party’s organisational line”, the watchdog said.
It added that Tang “took advantage of his authority to publicise his own calligraphy and other works” and “wanted to be famous while being an official”, engaging in “elegant corruption” official jargon for the practice of using art as a cover for corruption.
The 69-year-old Tang had long been known for his interest in calligraphy and involvement in China’s artistic circles, with state media publishing interviews with the official that showcased his “crazy cursive” style of free-flowing ink works.
Tang also faced scrutiny during a 2014 investigation into alleged nepotism at JPMorgan Chase, with the New York Times reporting at the time that the US bank had received major assignments from Everbright after hiring Tang’s son.
Tang is the latest in a series of prominent figures from the banking industry to be hit with corruption charges.
Those placed under investigation are usually convicted.
Last month, Sun Guofeng, a former senior official at China’s central bank, was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison for allegedly exchanging information for bribes totalling 21 million yuan ($3 million).
In November, Sun Deshun, the former president of the state-owned China Citic Bank, was sentenced to life in prison for illegally receiving property valued at over $130 million.
Also in November, the Communist Party announced that Zhang Hongli, previously the vice chief of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) one of China’s biggest state-owned banks was under investigation for suspected corruption.
Li Xiaopeng, Tang’s successor as Everbright Group chairman, was arrested on charges of taking bribes in October.
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