Probe of top banker linked to three others
The detention of a top executive of the mainland's third-largest bank last week could be linked to investigations into several other officials and businessmen.
The case of Yang Kun, vice-president and executive director of Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), who is being investigated for alleged illegal gambling activities, is linked to corruption probes of People's Liberation Army general Gu Junshan, now under arrest, property developer Wang Yaohui, and Dalian Shide chairman tycoon Xu Ming, who has been described as a close ally of disgraced Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai, according to news magazine Caixin.
The South China Morning Post reported last week that Yang was believed to have been involved in gambling and corruption, particularly related to several money-losing property projects that received loans from ABC, and that Yang was well known among senior people in the mainland's financial community for his penchant for gambling, particularly poker and mahjong.
Yang's case is the most high-profile involving the world of finance since China Construction Bank chairman Zhang Enzhao received a 15-year jail term for corruption in 2006.
Born in 1959, the low-profile Yang has worked for ABC for more than 20 years. His career took off when he became president of ABC's Anhui branch in 2002, and then moved on to become assistant to the bank's president a year later. He was promoted to vice-president of the bank in March 2004. He was made executive director in 2009.
Yang holds a master's degree in economics from Nankai University, which has produced many of the mainland's financial heavyweights, including China Insurance Regulatory Commission head Xiang Junbo, who is also a former chairman of ABC.
Yang received his bachelor's degree in political and economic sciences in 1985 before obtaining his master's in 1996.
Lieutenant General Gu Junshan was reported by state media in February to have 'departed' from his post, without elaboration.
Gu was taken away by investigators from the military's disciplinary watchdog a day after his last public appearance at a Spring Festival reception for military veterans on January 18, according to the Post.
Number of years Yang Kun had worked for Agricultural Bank of China