27 April 2018

Former regulator bribery charge in China's “cats and rats” finance industry

The former top insurance regulator is charged with abuse of power as China tackles its' "cats and rats" finance industry.

The former head of the now defunct China Insurance Regulatory Commission Xiang Junbo has been charged with abuse of power for financial gain while in the top job. He is one of the highest profile targets in President Xi Jinping’s campaign to tackle corruption in the financial industry in China. The agency has ceased as an autonomous body and merged with the country’s banking watchdog earlier this month.

“Huge bribes”
In his six years in charge, the value of China’s insurance industry almost tripled, and several firms grew exponentially. Much of that expansion came after insurers were granted new permissions to raise short-term funds from investors via universal insurance policies, and also to buy equity stakes in listed companies and property projects, turning several of them into aggressive investors. Xiang Junbo came under investigation last year, and has been charged with using his position to further the illegal interests of others in return for “huge” bribes, according to the People’s Daily, which did not put any values on the alleged bribes or name any of the individuals or companies Xiang is accused of helping.

“Cats and rats” industry
The newly appointed head of discipline at the China’s central bank Xu Jia’ai declared China’s finance industry is 'dogged by a corrupt alliance of cats and rats,' leading to a lack of order and heightened risk within China’s financial system. He added the financial risk facing China is worse than in US before global crash.