Ex-Chairman of Top China Insurer Given Suspended Death Sentence

September 13, 2023 by

China sentenced the former head of the nation’s largest life insurer to death with a two-year reprieve, as President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption in the financial industry continues.

Wang Bin, ex-chairman of China Life Insurance Co., was found to have taken bribes worth 325 million yuan ($45 million) and hiding overseas deposits, China Central Television reported Tuesday, citing a court ruling. (Editor’s note: The former chairman’s sentence will be commuted to life imprisonment at the end of the two years, according to news reports).

Wang was placed under investigation in January 2022, before being arrested and expelled from the Communist Party. The top anti-graft agency had accused him of refusing to implement policies that could prevent financial risks, and of intervention in market activities.

Chinese authorities warned the nation’s top banking executives in April that the crackdown which began in late 2021 was far from over, following the probe of Bank of China Ltd.’s former chairman Liu Liange, Bloomberg reported. Officials have since launched a probe into Li Xiaopeng, the former chairman of state-owned China Everbright Group.

China Life reported an 8% drop in profit in the first half of this year, as stock-market volatility offset a sales recovery after the pandemic.

Photo credit: Wang Bin, former chairman of China Pacific Insurance Corp., attending a delegation meeting at the Great Hall of the People during the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, China, on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo credit: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg