Head of Chinese bank behind foreign building spree jailed

BEIJING (AP) — The former chairman of the main Chinese state bank behind Beijing’s initiative to build railways and ports across dozens of Asian countries has been sentenced to life in prison on corruption charges, a court announced.

Hu Huaibang was sentenced on Thursday after being convicted of taking CNY85.5 million (USD13.2 million) in bribes between 2009 and 2019, according to the Intermediate People’s Court of Chengde, a city north of Beijing. It said he used his post to help others obtain jobs and loans.

Hu also was Communist Party secretary of China Development Bank (CDB), one of the world’s richest lenders. The CDB is the main source of financing for the multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to expand trade by building railways, highways, ports, airports, power plants and other facilities across an arc of countries from the South Pacific through Asia, Africa and the Middle East to Europe.

The BRI has prompted complaints some countries are left with debts they cannot repay.

There was no indication Hu’s prosecution was connected to the BRI.

The court said Hu’s sentence was lenient because he confessed and handed over the bribe money.

Visitors look at a display by the China Development Bank at the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing. PHOTO: AP