BEIJING (AP) — China's former chief insurance regulator has pleaded guilty to taking bribes over 12 years in exchange for helping people obtain loans, promotions and other favors, a state news agency reported.

Xiang Junbo was the highest-ranking figure in Chinese finance to be ensnared in an anti-graft crackdown led by President Xi Jinping since 2013.

Xiang "pleaded guilty and expressed repentance" on Thursday during his trial in the eastern city of Changzhou, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

It gave no indication what the next step in Xiang's trial would be or give other details of his case.

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During Xiang's stint at the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, the industry was wracked by scandals including complaints insurers were engaged in reckless speculation in stocks and real estate.

The agency was merged with the Chinese bank regulator in March in an effort to create a more powerful body to oversee financial industries as they try to reduce debt and risk.

Xiang was charged with taking 19.4 million yuan ($3 million) in bribes while at the CIRC and in his former posts as chairman of state-owned Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. and at the central bank from 2005 to 2017.

He was expelled in September from the ruling Communist Party, where he had been a member of the 376-member Central Committee.