China's anti-graft body investigates statistics bureau chief

AP News
Posted: Jan 26, 2016 11:06 PM
China's anti-graft body investigates statistics bureau chief

BEIJING (AP) — The head of the bureau that gathers China's economic data is under investigation by the anti-graft agency in a possible expansion of an anticorruption campaign that has shaken state companies and securities firms.

Wang Bao'an, chairman of the National Bureau of Statistics and a former deputy finance minister, is suspected of "severe disciplinary violations," the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement Tuesday. It gave no details.

Dozens of senior figures in China's state-owned industry, finance firms and regulatory agencies have been detained in a 4-year-old anti-corruption crackdown led by President Xi Jinping.

Just hours before Tuesday's announcement, Wang had briefed reporters at a news conference about China's economic performance in 2015.

Wang, 52, was appointed chief of the statistics bureau last April after serving 24 years in the Ministry of Finance.

Chinese anti-graft investigators can spend years assembling a case, suggesting accusations against Wang might stem from his previous post instead of his short tenure at the statistics agency.

Chinese regulators have wide discretion in making decisions that can affect billions of dollars in business.

The anti-graft committee reported this month some 282,000 officials were punished last year for rule violations. It said the anti-corruption crackdown would continue this year with "intensity and pace unchanged."

The presidents of the state-owned Agricultural Bank of China and Minsheng Bank were detained last year. Police said in September the general manager of state-owned Citic Securities, the country's biggest brokerage, and other executives were suspected of insider trading following an investigation launched after Chinese stock prices plunged in June.