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April 16, 2010

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Death penalty for corrupt banker

A FORMER top financial official was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve yesterday for taking nearly 12 million yuan (US$1.8 million) in bribes.

Wang Yi, 54, former vice president of state-run China Development Bank, was given the probation because he pleaded guilty in court and had a good attitude in confessing, Beijing No.1 Intermediate People's Court said.

According to China's criminal law, the death sentence will be commuted to life imprisonment if Wang does not break the law for two years.

The court also confiscated all Wang's assets.

The Yunnan native was found guilty of accepting and soliciting 11.9 million yuan, mainly during his tenure between 1999 to 2008 in the China Development Bank, in exchange for approving irregular loans.

He was also involved in helping Pacific Securities, a company partly owned by his brother and sister, to get listed in the stock market in 2007.

Wang was once the vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission during 1995 and 1999.

Wang's case caught public attention because he confessed to affairs with two Chinese female Television stars in the hearing on March 30.

A Hong Kong businessman named Li Tao testified that Wang instructed him to give 300,000 yuan to Zhao Wei, who starred in the popular television series "Princess Pearl," when she accompanied Wang to the opening ceremony of a department store in 1999.

Li became a regular briber after that.

He gave about half the money Wang took in bribes, or 5.4 million yuan, the prosecutors said.

Wang also instructed Li to give 2 million yuan to Liu Fangfei, a famous CCTV anchorwoman, to clear a home loan, Li said.

Liu presented testimony saying she and Wang were in love and they broke up two years ago because Wang's son from his ex-wife stopped the relationship. Wang divorced his ex-wife in 1996.

Li once gave Wang's son a red envelope with US$10,000 during a New Year holiday in Las Vegas, the indictment said.

In return, Wang helped Li acquire a bank loan for an expressway project.


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