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Li Li: China’s shipping ‘godmother’ faces anti-graft prosecution

China’s shipping ‘godmother’ faces anti-graft prosecution
Sam Chambers January 11, 2023

Li Li, one of the best known names in Chinese ship finance, is facing prosecution in Beijing after the authorities accused her of accepting large bribes during her time working for the Export-Import Bank of China (Cexim).

Li has been described in local Chinese media as the “godmother” of China’s shipping industry for all the deals she was involved in from 2006 until last year. In September 2022 she was expelled from the Communist Party as anti-graft investigations got underway. She is one of a host of well known Chinese ship finance names to have been hit by graft allegations and faded from view over the last year.

Veteran ship financier Dagfinn Lunde, writing in the latest issue of Maritime CEO magazine, noted: “It seems like all the top names in this sector have been arrested. When the banks were reducing their shipping exposure over the past decade, it was Chinese leasing which filled the gap. Now there’s a noticeable hole.”