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Chalco executive latest to face Beijing investigations

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, 2:55am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, 4:38pm

A senior manager of Aluminum Corp of China (Chalco), the country's largest smelter of the lightweight metal, has become the latest in a series of high-level executives at central government-administered enterprises to be investigated by Beijing.

Vice-president Li Dongguang was under investigation "by relevant authorities for personal reasons", Chalco said in a statement to Hong Kong's stock exchange without elaborating. "The investigation has no relation whatsoever to the company," it said, adding Li had tendered resignation from his post and that the resignation had no noticeable impact on its production.

Li was also general manager of Chalco Aluminium International Trading and oversaw a deal between the aluminium giant and Mongolia's state-owned coking coal miner Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi.

In January, ETT sought to renegotiate a 2011 long-term deal to supply US$250 million worth of coal to Chalco for smelting steel and suspended deliveries, citing production costs being lower than market prices. Chalco threatened to sue ETT but deliveries resumed in April under the original terms.

Chalco diversified into coal trading and iron-ore mining after it suffered years of low profits and losses in the oversupplied aluminium sector.

News of Li's investigation came on the heels of China Cosco executive director Xu Minjie's resignation after an investigation by mainland authorities.

The shipping giant's former chairman Wei Jiafu also had his movements restricted by the authorities, suggesting he was being investigated.

President Xi Jinping delivered a policy blueprint last week after a four-day closed-door party meeting in Beijing in which the top leadership pledged to give market forces "a decisive role" in shaping the economy.

It also declared that both the state and private sectors were important to the economy, opening the possibility for greater participation by private firms in state-dominated strategic sectors with high policy barriers of entry.

Since last year, Xi has launched a crackdown on corruption and luxury-gift giving by officials at government and state firms, resulting in numerous investigations and arrests.

Besides China Cosco, a string of former senior executives at China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and China Mobile have also been investigated and forced to resign since August.

They included Jiang Jiemin, who was director of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission before he was investigated for serious "discipline violations" in late August. He was a former CNPC chairman. Four other senior CNPC officials had been placed under investigation days earlier, including Jiang's former aide Wang Yongchun.


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