Ex-head of state-owned Chinese bank charged with graft

BEIJING - The former head of one of China's largest banks has been charged with corruption, authorities said Wednesday.

Tao Liming, ex-president of the Postal Savings Bank of China, is accused of crimes including bribe-taking and embezzlement of public funds, the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) said in a statement.

The state-owned Postal Savings Bank, a spin-off from China's sprawling post office system, boasts the country's biggest network of banking outlets.

Its website describes it as China's fifth-largest banking institution by client and deposit numbers.

Tao became head of the bank in 2007 but came under investigation for graft in 2012. He was formally arrested in December that year.

Chinese business and political circles are riddled with corruption - a situation that has repeatedly been singled out by top leaders as the biggest danger to face the ruling Communist Party.

President Xi Jinping has pledged to root out high-ranking "tigers" as well as low-level "flies" in his much-publicised anti-graft sweep.

But critics say there have been no systematic changes that could root out corruption fundamentally.

The Postal Savings Bank violated rules to lend a highway construction company in the central province of Hunan a total of five billion yuan (S$1.02 billion) between 2008 and 2010, the China Business Journal newspaper reported two years ago.

Tao's younger brother asked for 190 million yuan (S$38.59 million) in bribes and the company paid 15 million (S$3.05) in cash and the rest in other forms, it said.

In 2010, Chinese courts gave a former China Development Bank vice-president a suspended death sentence for taking bribes in return for providing loans to businesses.