Wang Xuebing, president of China Construction Bank, was sacked because of negligence and suspicious loans he approved, according to the head of the mainland's central bank. In the first public comments on the affair by a senior mainland official, Dai Xianglong, governor of the People's Bank of China, said Mr Wang was removed on Friday after investigations were launched into loans he approved when he was the governor of the Bank of China. Mr Dai was speaking as a separate official report was released singling out the Bank of China for rampant financial irregularities, following a probe of books at the bank's head office for the year 2000. Mr Wang became the head of China Construction Bank in February 2000. Mr Dai said the State Council and the Central Committee of the Communist Party had decided to remove Mr Wang, a member of the central committee, from his post. 'Comrade Wang Xuebing had responsibility of leadership and direct responsibility for lending cases that happened in some individual Bank of China branches at home and abroad. The relevant departments will continue to investigate the problem of comrade Wang Xuebing,' he said. Sources said among the suspect transactions approved by Mr Wang and now under investigation were loans in excess of US$20 million (HK$156 million) to a New York-based company co-owned by his wife. The bulk of the loans were not guaranteed by collateral and much of the money was unlikely to be recovered. The news of Mr Wang's dismissal was first reported in the South China Morning Post on Saturday. Mr Dai's announcement was the first time the Chinese public had been told. Mr Wang has been replaced by Zhang Enzhao, a deputy president of China Construction Bank. Mr Dai said he was unaware of any charges against Mr Wang or whether he was being detained. The naming of the Bank of China for rampant financial irregularities came in the National Audit Office's annual report into fraud by government bodies and state-owned enterprises. The office said the bank was home to 22 major cases of irregularities, involving assets worth 2.7 billion yuan (HK$2.5 billion) and implicating 35 people. The findings followed a probe of the bank's head office, seven mainland branches and more than 150 affiliates - part of a broad investigation of government agencies and state enterprises last year. Xinhua said it found more than 160 billion yuan had been misallocated by 107,000 departments and enterprises.