Tong Daochi, a former senior Chinese official who has worked at the World Bank, has been given a suspended death sentence for bribery, becoming the latest high-ranking Communist party member punished under President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign.
The 54-year-old who has also worked at the Rand Corporation, a US-based think-tank, was sentenced after allegedly netting more than $41mn from bribes and insider trading.
Tong’s sentence was the latest in a growing number of cases targeting the intersection between finance and the state.
Since 2012, Xi has targeted “tigers and flies”, or high- and low-ranking government officials, for alleged corruption. The crackdown has ensnared about 2mn officials, including Xi’s political rivals and dissenters as well as legitimate cases of graft.
“Between 2004 and 2020, Tong took advantage of various positions he formerly held to assist others in matters including company listing, business operation, loans and promotions and accepted money and goods,” state news agency Xinhua reported.
Tong’s alleged crimes included leaking “sensitive stock information to relatives and associates” while he worked at the China Securities Regulatory Commission. He confessed and surrendered illicit money and property after his arrest.
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Chinese Communist party’s anti-corruption watchdog, last October embarked on a probe of 25 institutions, including the central bank, the banking and insurance regulator, stock exchanges and commercial banks. Dozens of officials from state-owned banks, regulators and insurers have been named as under investigation.
The CCDI last month announced a probe into Sun Guofeng, former head of the central bank’s monetary policy department, for alleged “serious violation of the party’s discipline and law”.
Sun, 49, has served multiple roles in the monetary policy department and the research institute of the People’s Bank of China since 1996, and taught in the US, including at Princeton and Stanford universities.
Alex Payette, chief executive of Cercius Group, a consultancy that specialises in elite Chinese politics, said Tong’s misdeeds primarily revolved around the 2015 market crash, “which was seen internally as a sort of ‘financial coup’ against the Xi administration”.
“In late 2015, several senior CSRC officials, including Tong’s former boss Yao Gang, were demoted and subsequently placed under investigation for their alleged roles in the 2015 stock market crash,” Payette said.
“Yao was convicted on bribery and insider trading charges in September 2018 and sentenced to 18 years in prison. We believe Tong is part of this wider CSRC nexus that took part in the market rout,” he added.
Officials convicted of corruption who have received life or suspended death sentences have typically been released within 20 years.
But the use of capital punishment for financial crimes was deployed last year when authorities executed Lai Xiaomin, the former president of state-controlled financial group Huarong, three weeks after his sentencing.
Additional reporting by Cheng Leng in Hong Kong