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Senior official at Cosco under investigation

Updated: 2013-11-09 06:40
By Wu Yiyao in Shanghai ( China Daily)

An executive director at China Cosco Holdings Ltd, Xu Minjie, is being investigated by the authorities, the company said on Friday.

The company's shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange declined 5.04 percent to HK$3.58 ($0.46) on Friday, while its shares on the Shanghai bourse were down 3.85 percent to 3 yuan ($0.49).

Cosco said on Friday that Xu is under investigation by "relevant departments" in China without disclosing any additional information about the investigation.

"The board believes that ... the investigation will not have a material adverse effect on the group, and the business and operations of the group remain normal," Cosco's statement said.

Xu, 54, joined Cosco in 1980 and became the vice-president of Cosco Group in 2011. He also served as vice-general manager of Cosco Holdings and general manager of Cosco Pacific.

Media reports said on Thursday that Wei Jiafu, the former chairman of Cosco, is also under investigation and is barred from leaving China as investigations into the group continue.

Wei, who was once the most powerful man in China's shipping industry, was removed from his post in July.

Cosco said in a separate statement on Friday that the rumors targeting Wei are "groundless".

"We firmly implement the Party and the country's anti-corruption rules, and sincerely accept supervision from the public," that statement said.

Cosco, which runs container shipping and port businesses, has suffered losses in the past two years. In the first three quarters of the year, the company recorded a loss of 2.03 billion yuan.

In July, the former general-manager of Cosco's Dalian branch, Meng Qinglin, was arrested for corruption, while in 2011, the former vice-general manager of Cosco's Qingdao branch, Song Jun, was also arrested under corruption charges.

China's latest anti-corruption drive has swept up a series of provincial leaders and corporate executives, including the mayor of Nanjing and officials at PetroChina Co Ltd, one of the country's largest oil groups.

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