China's former NDRC finance chief under probe

CAIXIN, Shanghai - A former director of China's top economic planner who oversaw the country's corporate bond issues between 2003-2006 is being investigated, financial news magazine Caixin reported on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Zhang Dongsheng, who was the general director of the National Development and Reform Commission's (NDRC) finance department, is being investigated in relation to corporate bonds issued in 2005, the influential magazine said, citing the sources.

The investigation comes on the back of a separate probe into Guosen Securities executives, Caixin added.

The NDRC is responsible for approving the issuance of bonds of more than one year by non-listed companies and non-financial firms.

Zhang was transferred to head NDRC's employment and income distribution division in 2007. Caixin said he had retired in recent months and that the probe may expose details of corruption in corporate bond issuance.

Telephone calls by Reuters to reach NDRC for comment were not answered.

Last October, domestic media reported that Chinese police were investigating three fixed-income executives from brokerage Guosen Securities including the president of its fixed income arm, Sun Mingxia.

Caixin said in Wednesday's report that Sun had provided a list of 100 people during the probe, which included Zhang's name. Zhang's department oversaw a "golden age" of corporate bond issuance from 2003-2006 under his leadership, it said.

A string of Chinese and foreign executives have come under investigation for corruption by the country's regulators as part of a wider crackdown against graft initiated by President Xi Jinping.

The Communist Party earlier this month announced an investigation into former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, by far the highest profile figure caught up in the country's anti-corruption campaign.