China corruption watchdog investigating executives at Volkswagen JV

SHANGHAI Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:56am EDT

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) sits in an All New Jetta as she visits the FAW-Volkswagen production plant with FAW Group President Xu Jianyi (C) and Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, in Chengdu, Sichuan province July 6, 2014. REUTERS/China Daily

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) sits in an All New Jetta as she visits the FAW-Volkswagen production plant with FAW Group President Xu Jianyi (C) and Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, in Chengdu, Sichuan province July 6, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/China Daily

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's corruption watchdog said on Tuesday it is investigating one former and one current executive at Volkswagen AG's (VOWG_p.DE) Chinese venture, FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Co Ltd, for "seriously violating the law."

The announcement, posted on website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China, identified the two as former deputy general manager Li Wu and Zhou Chun, deputy general manager of the joint venture's Audi sales division.

Officials at Volkswagen in China, FAW and FAW-Volkswagen could not be reached for comment. Efforts to reach Li and Zhou for comment were unsuccessful.

The statement said the investigation comes after the watchdog recently launched a special inspection at FAW Group Corp.

The joint venture with state-owned FAW is one of the two car-making ventures the German automaker has in China.

Volkswagen's luxury brand Audi and other foreign brands like Daimler AG's (DAIGn.DE) Mercedes-Benz and Fiat SpA's FIA.MI Chrysler have been under investigation in China over their pricing practices as Beijing steps up enforcement of its anti-monopoly laws.

Earlier this month the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's price regulator, said it would punish Audi and Chrysler for monopoly practices.

It was not immediately clear if the two probes were related.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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