A powerful businessman was arrested in April as part of a corruption investigation into disgraced former People’s Liberation Army chief Xu Caihou, Caijing magazine reported Monday.
Wang Chuncheng, a close Xu ally, was held by military prosecutors at the airport on his return from a trip to Japan. He faces graft allegations.
The arrest came about a month after Xu was placed under investigation for alleged corruption.
Wang, 51, is chairman of Liaoning-based Chuncheng Industry and Trade Group. He had become a close confidant of Xu after his son was involved in a street fight in which a local resident was killed.
Xu helped him with his son’s case after the two were introduced but Wang kept a low profile about the relationship, the report said.
Wang had close business ties with Xu’s wife and had offered the family property in Hainan as a gift, the report said.
Wang’s arrest is linked to Xu’s case, according to an anonymous source close to the the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.
Wang started his company as a mining venture in Liaoning after getting laid off from a job in the early 1990s.
He set up a street-side coal sales business catering to passing motorists. He bagged his first major customer when a power plant in Jinzhou city signed a supply contract.
In 2003, Wang expanded the business to Inner Mongolia by acquiring two open-pit coal mines there.
He also became involved in the construction of a rail line across northeast China and eastern Mongolia, eventually linking with Russia.
Wang was a major investor in the early stage of the project, estimated at 5.9 billion yuan (US$953.49 million) in the first phase alone, according to media reports.
In 2008, Wang was a delegate to the National People’s Congress but resigned over suspected “serious violations of discipline and law”.
His resignation was accepted by the Liaoning Provincial People’s Congress on April 10.
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