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China charges former chief of state asset regulator with graft

[BEIJING] Chinese prosecutors on Thursday charged the former head of the state asset regulator with bribery and abuse of power, paving the way for the trial of the one-time oil man who had close links with a disgraced retired domestic security chief.

President Xi Jinping has spent the past two years waging war on corruption, saying it threatens the survival of the ruling Communist Party.

Scores of senior officials in the party, the government, the military and state-owned enterprises have been brought down by the campaign.

Jiang Jiemin ran the state asset regulator for just five months when he was sacked after being accused of corruption in September 2013.

He was also a former head of CNPC, the parent of PetroChina Co Ltd and a close associate of Zhou Yongkang, the powerful domestic security chief, who is also being investigated for corruption.

China's state prosecutor said Jiang was being accused of taking bribes, being unable to explain where a large number of his assets came from and abusing his power when he worked for CNPC.

"(His) assets and expenditure obviously exceeded his legal income; the difference was very large and (he) was unable to explain its source," the prosecutor said in a short statement."(He) abused his power, causing enormous losses to the interests of the state." The case will be head in a court in the central province of Hubei, it added.

A second Zhou ally, former deputy party chief of Sichuan province Li Chuncheng, has also been charged with abuse of power and bribery, the prosecutor said in a separate statement. He, too, will be tried in Hubei.

At least a dozen former associates and protégées of Zhou have been felled in Mr Xi's graft crackdown.

Zhou was a patron of former high-flying politician Bo Xilai, who was jailed for life in 2013 for corruption and abuse of power in the worst political scandal in decades.

Zhou was arrested last year and expelled from the party, accused of crimes ranging from taking bribes to leaking state secrets.

Zhou rose through the ranks at CNPC and from 1996-1998 served as general manager of the firm.

REUTERS