Lai Xiaomin (赖小民; born July 1962) is a Chinese business executive and senior economist who served as party chief and chairman of the board of China Huarong Asset Management, one of the largest financial asset management company in China, from September 2012 to April 2018.
He was sacked for graft on April 17, 2018. He assumed various posts in the People’s Bank of China, including Deputy Director and Director of the Central Funding Department of the Planning Capital Department of the People’s Bank of China, Director of the Second Division of the Bank, Deputy Director of the Credit Management Department, and Deputy Director of the Bank Supervision Second Division.
He was a delegate to the 12th National People’s Congress. His former positions include Deputy Director of the Banking Supervision Department of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, Head of the Preparatory Team of the Beijing Supervision Bureau, Secretary of the Beijing Banking Regulatory Bureau, Secretary of the Party Committee, Director of the General Office of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, and Director of the Party Committee Office and Chief Spokesperson.
Lai was born in Ruijin, Jiangxi in July 1962.
Beginning in July 1987, he served in several posts in the People’s Bank of China, including deputy division director, division director, and deputy department director. In April 2003, he was transferred to China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), where he worked until December 2005. He was promoted to deputy party chief and president of China Huarong Asset Management in January 2009. In September 2012 he was promoted again to become its party chief and chairman of the board, the top political position in the company.
On April 17, 2018, he was put under investigation for alleged “serious violations of discipline and laws” by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the party’s internal disciplinary body, and the National Supervisory Commission, the highest anti-corruption agency of China. He was expelled from the Communist Party on October 15.
Head of Powerful Chinese Lender Swept Up in Corruption Inquiry
China’s sweeping anti-corruption campaign has claimed another target: the head of a powerful state lender.
Lai Xiaomin, a former Communist Party secretary and the former chairman of Huarong Asset Management, was kicked out of the party on Monday for “serious violations” of party law and regulations, including trading his power and influence for sex with several women, the government said.
Prosecutors could announce specific charges related to Mr. Lai’s case, the government said in an online statement.
His is the latest in a string of high-profile bribery cases involving officials and tycoons as Beijing reins in China’s financial sector and tamps down risky lending.
Huarong helped China’s biggest companies make big splashy acquisitions overseas. Several of its clients have come under scrutiny by officials for big deals, including the HNA Group and CEFC China Energy, the oil giant whose founder has been missing since February.
Mr. Lai was accused of violating political rules including “squandering waste of state property, illegally organizing public banquets” as well as accepting bribes, according to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party’s graft watchdog. He was required to hand over what the watchdog said was illegal income.
The announcement is part of a broader effort that has empowered Beijing to crack down on graft as President Xi Jinping consolidates his power and moves to impose strict discipline within the party. Mr. Lai was charged by the National Supervisory Commission, an anti-corruption body within the party’s graft watchdog, created in March with expansive powers to sidestep the courts and detain anyone on government payroll for long periods of time without access to a lawyer.
The newly emboldened anti-corruption agency announced last weekthat the president of Interpol, the Chinese citizen Meng Hongwei, was under investigation for similar violations and had been detained. Soon after the announcement, Interpol said it received a resignation letter from Mr. Meng, putting an end to several days of mystery after Mr. Meng’s wife reported him missing.
Mr. Lai, 56, was arrested in April on allegations of violating the law.Several days later the company, which is publicly listed in Hong Kong, said he had resigned. On Monday the government elaborated, adding that Mr. Lai used his position and authority to amass money and “huge amounts of property.”
Other executives tied to Huarong have also been arrested on allegations of accepting bribes. The government did not mention the other executives.
Huarong’s shares have lost more than 60 percent of their value since the beginning of the year. The company did not respond to a request for comment. Mr. Lai himself could not be reached for comment.
A longtime central bank official and onetime bank regulator, Mr. Lai took the helm at Huarong in 2012. He was also a representative at the 12th National People’s Congress.
Huarong was established in the late 1990s as one of China’s “bad banks” to serve as a repository for the nonperforming loans of state-owned companies that were preparing to list publicly. Huarong helped the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to process its bad loans ahead of its initial public offering in 2006.
Since then Huarong has been involved in helping large Chinese companies deal with towering debt piles. In March it bought a 36 percent stake in a subsidiary of CEFC China Energy, which was in the process of acquiring a $9 billion stake in the Russian state oil giant Rosneft.
Huarong’s acquisition came a month after the disappearance of Ye Jianming, CEFC’s founder, who was detained by Chinese investigators and has not been seen in public since. CEFC is currently being slowly taken apart by the Chinese government while in the United States one of its top executives is facing allegations that he tried to bribe African officials in exchange for oil concessions.
Earlier this year another tycoon, Wu Xiaohui, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for defrauding investors following a bribery investigation. Mr. Wu rose to international fame when his company, Anbang Insurance, bought the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York for nearly $2 billion.
Anbang was one of a handful Chinese companies that rocked markets from New York to London by paying large amounts of money for trophy assets.
The HNA Group, another conglomerate, had deals like the acquisition of Micro Ingram and Swissport, an airport cargo and ground services company, as well as large stakes in publicly listed companies like Hilton Hotels and Deutsche Bank. HNA is now winding down much of its international business.
By Alexandra Stevenson