China to prosecute former regulatory official for graft

BEIJING - Chinese authorities will prosecute a former official at the country's securities regulator after an investigation showed he had taken bribes, the ruling Communist Party's anti-graft watchdog said on Friday.

President Xi Jinping has launched a sweeping crackdown on deep-rooted graft since taking over the party's leadership in late 2012 and the presidency in 2013. Dozens of senior officials have been investigated or jailed.

Li Liang, former head of the investor protection department at the China Securities Regulatory Commission, was also found to have abused his position, and has been expelled from the party, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said. "Li Liang's actions are a serious breach of discipline and the law," it said, adding his case had been turned over to legal authorities, meaning he will be prosecuted.

It was not possible to reach Li for comment and it is not clear if he has a lawyer. The brief statement provided no other details.

China's financial regulators have been under heavy pressure since stock markets collapsed in mid-June following a long bull run, though the statement on Li made no mention of the markets.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission will work to combat conflict of interests and reduce corruption, the anti-corruption watchdog said last week.

Separately, the official Xinhua news agency said that Gu Chunli had been sacked from his position as a vice governor of the northeastern province of Jilin following a graft investigation.

Jilin is China's second-largest corn producing province and also sits strategically on the border with North Korea.

The party has given no details of the accusation against Gu.