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Life sentence for corrupt bank official

AN official at China Development Bank, a financial institution affiliated to the State Council or China's cabinet, has been sentenced to life in prison for taking 5.5 million yuan (US$0.8 million) worth bribes.

The Beijing No.1 Intermediate People's Court found Hu Hancheng, 43, guilty this morning, Beijing Evening News reported today.

Hu used to serve as vice chief of the bank's risk control division.

He was found to have helped enterprises get bank loans as he played an important role in checking and reviewing loan applications.

Hu helped a gas pipe company, Henan Lantian Group Co Ltd, obtain 930 million yuan in loans from the bank and was rewarded 3 million yuan for his efforts in cutting the approval procedure time, said Li Xiangjun, Lantian's vice general manager, at the court.

Hu asked Lantian to transfer the money to the account of a consultancy run by his old school mate Ren Hesheng.

Ren has been sentenced to 11 years in prison as Hu's accomplice.

Lantian also offered Hu 1 million yuan when it applied for a 19-billion-yuan loan from the bank in the first half of 2004.

The court found Hu had also accepted 1.5 million yuan from a highway construction project in Anhui province, which had asked for 1.625 billion yuan from the bank. Hu gave Ren 500,000 yuan from the deal.

To avoid being discovered, Hu at one stage told the bank's disciplinary department he had borrowed 1.5 million yuan from Lantian to invest in stocks and had returned it.

Hu claimed at the court his confession should have been accepted but this was rejected by the court.

Hu used the profits to purchase properties in Beijing and kept a mistress. Hu's mistress was also found guilty of covering up Hu's crimes when she was questioned by prosecutors. She was sentenced to one year imprisonment but with a probation period of one year.


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