Former China Resources group chairman Song Lin was a director of two offshore companies along with another senior executive of the state-run conglomerate who is also being probed for corruption, the South China Morning Post has learned.
Song was sacked last week and made the subject of an internal Communist Party inquiry.
He is among the directors of two companies registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in 2000, according to leaked company documents provided by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Another director is Wang Hongkun, the former executive director of China Resources Land, who was detained immediately after the mainland's anti-graft authorities announced on April 17 that they were investigating Song.
The authorities have not linked the cases of Song and Wang. But documents seen by the Post show that they developed business ties more than a decade ago.
They held directorships in two BVI-registered companies, Dragon Progress and Dragon Rider Development.
Both companies were incorporated in the tax haven in February 2000. Song was made a director of the two companies the following April, while Wang joined the companies a month later. All this took place a year before Song was named vice-chairman and managing director of China Resources Enterprise in 2001.
Holding an offshore company does not constitute a crime or indicate wrongdoing. But it raises questions about why Song and Wang - both senior executives at a state-owned conglomerate that controls huge public resources - should set up offshore firms in an overseas tax haven.
Company records show Dragon Rider, now transferred out, was the sole shareholder of Dragon Progress, now deregistered.
Local company records also show Wang was made a director of Uconia, an interior design subsidiary owned by China Resources, about a month before his detention.
China Resources Land said on Tuesday that Wang had resigned because of "ill health".
The detention of Wang, 46, along with Wu Ding , chief executive of China Resources Capital Holdings, suggested the investigation into the state-run conglomerate was widening.
The graft watchdog said Song was "suspected of grave violations of discipline and law".