BEIJING - China's Communist Party announced an investigation Thursday into the brother of Ling Jihua, a former presidential ally whose reputation was tarnished by a scandalous Ferrari crash that killed his son.
His brother, Ling Zhengce, was being investigated for "serious discipline violations," generally a euphemism for graft, the party's central disciplinary body said on its website.
Ling Jihua's son died as a result of the high-speed crash in Beijing in March 2012 that also left two women passengers hurt, one of whom was naked, according to media reports at the time. Ling was once seen as a close ally of former president Hu Jintao.
His death added to public perceptions of corrupt and high-living officials, and Ling failed to rise up to the party's 25-member Politburo in a party reshuffle in 2012.
The official kept his post in its 205-member central committee but failed to rise to the the next level - the 25-person Politburo, and was given a lower profile job as part of the party's united front department.
The Communist party's leadership appointments are decided in an opaque process which analysts say depends on backroom deals between competing factions, often based on regional or family ties.
Ling's brother was a vice-president of the Shanxi provincial branch of the Chinese People's Consultative Conference, a debating chamber which is part of China's party-controlled government structure.
Photographs of the crash in 2012 were briefly circulated online, sparking questions about how the son of a government official could afford a luxury sports car worth a reported five million yuan (around US$800,000, S$998,000).