Fri, Jun 01, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Senior Chinese banker in probe

AFP, Beijing

A senior executive in one of China’s top banks is under investigation as part of a case local media said yesterday involved gambling debts, in the latest corruption scandal to hit the nation.

Yang Kun (楊琨), a vice president for the Agricultural Bank of China (中國農業銀行), was taken into custody by the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Commission of Discipline Inspection last week, the usually well-informed Caixin magazine reported on its Web site.

There were no details about what exactly Yang was being investigated for, but the discipline commission is often involved in looking into major corruption cases.

The Agricultural Bank issued a statement on late Wednesday to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, where it is listed, saying that Yang is “currently assisting relevant mainland authorities in connection with certain investigations.”

The bank, China’s fourth-largest by assets in some rankings, added that it did not believe its operations had been affected, and that it would make more announcements when appropriate.

In Hong Kong, the bank’s stock price fell 1.92 percent in morning trade, in line with the Hang Seng Index, while in Shanghai it ended the morning session down 1.5 percent.

According to Caixin and other media, the investigation also involved a Beijing property company that the Agricultural Bank had allegedly lent considerable amounts of money to.

Yang, born in 1959, had been seen a possible candidate for president and chairman of the bank, the magazine said.

Details of the investigation remain unclear, but it could deal a blow to the reputation of China’s top financial institutions, which have risen in prestige in recent years.

The Agricultural Bank of China and the Central Commission of Discipline Inspection both declined immediate comment.

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