Former VP of China’s Biggest Bank Latest to Face Graft Probe


Yet another banking industry executive has come under scrutiny in China, as Beijing continues its crackdown on its $61 trillion financial sector.

Beijing’s top anti-graft body, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), said on Saturday it was investigating Zhang Hongli, the former vice president of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).

Zhang, also a former member of the Communist Party of China (CPC) committee of the ICBC, is suspected of severe violations of Party discipline and laws, state media Xinhua reported citing an official statement released Saturday.


Also on AF: China Set to Tighten Hold on Crackdown-Hit Finance Sector


Media agency AFP quoted CCDI as saying that Zhang was “suspected of serious disciplinary and legal violations” — phrasing that largely refers to corruption in party language.

Zhang worked at ICBC from 2010 to 2018, Caixin reported. His appointment to the bank followed recommendations from various ministries and financial institutions, the report said.

ICBC is the world’s biggest bank by assets and has previously come under scrutiny for corruption. Two bankers from the bank were accused of taking bribes worth millions in 2019, and subsequently Gu Guoming, a former senior banker at ICBC was sentenced to life in prison.

The probe into Zhang follows a vow by the CCDI earlier this year to clamp down on corruption in the country’s massive banking industry. The anti-graft moves are part of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s signature campaign to remove risks in the economy and critical industries.

China’s top decision-making body — the Politburo — said in September it was willing to “be extreme, take effective measures to prevent and resolve major risks, and firmly maintain the bottom line of safety,” in the financial sector.



A twice-a-decade financial policy meeting re-iterated that call late last month, in which Beijing pledged to ‘uphold the centralised and unified leadership of the CCP’ on the financial sector.

President Xi, whose corruption clampdown is also related to his call for ‘common prosperity’, was present at both of those meetings.

Beijing’s anti-graft crackdown has led to arrests of a range of finance sector executives including top dealmaker Bao Fan, Bank of China’s former chairman Liu Liange and Wang Yawei, the former fund manager at China Asset Management (AMC), one of the country’s largest mutual fund houses.

The campaign has also led to widespread pay cutsfor banking employees and warnings to bankers to tamper down their opulent lifestyles.


  • Vishakha Saxena


Also read:

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China Bans Top Nomura Investment Banker From Exiting Mainland

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China Imposing Foreign Travel Limits on Bankers, State Workers

AF TV – Explained: What is China’s Common Prosperity drive?



Vishakha Saxena

Vishakha Saxena is the Multimedia and Social Media Editor at Asia Financial. She has worked as a digital journalist since 2013, and is an experienced writer and multimedia producer. As a trader and investor, she is keenly interested in new economy, emerging markets and the intersections of finance and society. You can write to her at

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