China investigates former NDRC finance chief in bribe probe

BEIJING Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:49am EDT

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BEIJING (Reuters) - A former director at China's economic planning agency who oversaw corporate bond issues between 2003-2006 is being investigated, the country's top prosecutor said on Friday, the latest official to be implicated in an anti-corruption drive.

Zhang Dongsheng, who was more recently the head of the employment and income distribution division at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), was "suspected of taking bribes", the Supreme People's Procuratorate said on its official microblog.

"Zhang has been placed under coercive measures," it said, referring to actions under law that include residential surveillance, detention and arrest. It did not specify which steps had been taken and offered no further details.

The NDRC did not reply to Reuters requests for more information.

Financial news magazine Caixin last week reported that Zhang, who was the one-time director general of the finance department, is being investigated in relation to corporate bonds issued in 2005.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made fighting pervasive graft a central theme since taking on the job last year and has warned, like others before him, that corruption threatens the survival of the ruling Communist Party.

The NDRC is responsible for approving the issuance of bonds of more than one year by non-listed companies and non-financial firms.

Zhang was transferred to head NDRC's employment and income distribution division in 2007, though he had retired in recent months.

Last October, Chinese media reported that police were investigating three fixed-income executives from brokerage Guosen Securities including the president of its fixed income arm, Sun Mingxia.

Caixin said in its report that Sun had provided a list of 100 people during the probe, which included Zhang's name. Zhang's department oversaw a "golden age" of corporate bond issuance from 2003-2006 under his leadership, it said.

The Communist Party earlier this month announced an investigation into former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, the highest profile figure caught up in the anti-corruption campaign.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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