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China expels former ICBC Shanghai head from Party, public office over bribery allegations

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By Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) – The former head of Industrial and Commercial Bank’s (ICBC) Shanghai branch, Gu Guoming, has been dismissed from public office and expelled from the Communist Party over bribery allegations, China’s top anti-graft body said on Wednesday.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said Gu was “suspected of taking an extremely large amount of bribes” and was alleged to have used state-owned financial resources as “bargaining chips with unscrupulous businessmen”.

The CCDI has been taking a harsh stance against high-profile financial officials in recent years, with a focus on the banking sector this year, in a bid to halt corruption linked to high-risk loans and official appointments.

Gu, 52, a key figure in Shanghai’s financial sector, stepped down in June as the local Communist Party chief and president of ICBC’s Shanghai branch, and was put under investigation by the anti-corruption watchdog.

The CCDI said Gu was also alleged to have taken advantage of his position to seek profits for others, frequented luxurious venues, received golf membership cards, and favoured people with interests in official appointments.

In particularly strong wording, CCDI described Gu as having his “faith and beliefs collapsed, Party spirit lost, outlook on life distorted, and sense of value extremely materialistic.”

The case would now be transferred to state prosecutors, the watchdog said. Reuters was unable to contact Gu. ICBC declined to comment.

(Reporting by Cheng Leng and Ryan Woo; editing by Richard Pullin)