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China launches formal investigation of ex-security chief Zhou Yongkang

China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said Tuesday that former security chief Zhou Yongkang is being investigated for suspected “serious disciplinary violations.”

The investigation will be conducted by the Communist Party’s watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, Xinhua said.

Zhou headed China’s Ministry of Public Security and was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee. Many of his associates are the target of corruption investigations.

In March, Chinese authorities seized assets worth at least $14.5 billion from Zhou. He’s been  under house arrest since late last year.

Zhou is the most senior politician to be subject to a corruption probe since the Communist party came to power in China in 1949.

About 10 officials who held a rank equivalent to at least vice minister have been under investigation by President Xi Jinping’s administration.

Among them are Jiang Jiemin, former chairman of both state energy giant PetroChina and its parent China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC); Xu Caihou, the former vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC); and Su Rong, a former vice chairman of China’s top political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

More than 20 of Zhou’s bodyguards, secretaries and drivers also were detained.


Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.

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