May 22, 2019 / 11:27 AM / 2 months ago

Top banking officials in China's Tianjin warned against corruption

BEIJING (Reuters) - Senior executives at eight banking institutions in China’s Tianjin were warned by the city’s top Communist Party official against corruption, the country’s graft-buster said on Wednesday.

Tianjin’s Party boss Li Hongzhong criticized some officials at Tianjin’s financial institutions for having “lost morality” and “seriously violating the Party’s rules and discipline”, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said.

Discipline violation is a common euphemism for corruption.

CCDI, the national body that enforces discipline among Party officials, vowed in January to wipe out corruption linked to bank officials signing off on high-risk loans, in a sign of a deepening anti-corruption campaign that is now targeting banks and financial institutions.

“Political (literacy) always comes first,” CCDI cited Li as saying. “For those who failed to meet the requirements, we should resolutely remove them from leading positions.”

Li said his warning to the eight institutions, most of which are either partially held or owned by Tianjin’s municipal government, sends a strong message about the city government’s determination to stamp out corruption-linked “misdeeds” that threaten the stability of its financial system.

“Officials of financial institutions should be fully aware that they’re managing the financial assets for the Party and for the people,” Li said. “They should not be occupying the positions yet doing nothing.”

President Xi Jinping has presided over a far-reaching anti-corruption drive since coming to power in 2012, punishing more than a million party members and jailing top military figures.

Xiang Junbo, former head of China’s insurance regulator, was investigated and expelled from the Party in 2017, becoming the highest-ranking financial regulator investigated for graft.

On Sunday, CCDI said the former head of China’s top securities regulator Liu Shiyu has been put under investigation on suspicion of violating laws.

Reporting by Cheng Leng and Ryan Woo; editing by David Evans

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