Senior China securities regulator jailed for graft

Yao Gang, former vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison (AFP pic)

BEIJING: The former deputy head of China’s top securities regulator was handed an 18-year prison sentence for taking bribes and insider trading Friday.

Yao Gang, former vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), was also fined 11 million yuan, the Handan Intermediate People’s Court said in a statement posted on its official social media account.

“As an employee of the state, the accused person exploited his position and used his relatives to accept extraordinarily large sums of property from others, a crime of accepting bribes,” the court said.

Between 2006 and 2016, Yao received some 70 million yuan in bribes through his relatives in exchange for holding back the investigation of dodgy deals, according to the statement.

He had also used insider knowledge to trade, buying shares before information was made public, the court said.

Yao was sacked in December 2015 for “severe disciplinary violations” — a term which normally refers to graft — as part of a probe of the financial sector after a spectacular market meltdown.

Chinese authorities launched a wave of investigations targeting the financial sector in late 2015 after a debt-fuelled stock market bubble burst that summer in a rout that wiped out trillions of dollars in market capitalisation.

After soaring 150% in one year, Shanghai stocks went into a tailspin in June 2015, tumbling nearly 40% in a few weeks despite massive intervention by the authorities.

Former CSRC head Xiao Gang, who was in charge during the crash, was dismissed in February 2016.

The crackdown is part of a sweeping anti-corruption campaign under President Xi Jinping.