“The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) boss of Hangzhou Zhou Jiangyong is suspected of seriously violating discipline and laws, and is under investigation and inspection,” the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), announced on Saturday night. No further details were released by the CCDI.
Hangzhou is the capital city of eastern China’s Zhejiang Province. It’s also the base for Ant Group.
Hours after the arrest, Taiwanese semi-official Central News Agency (CNA) reported that Zhou, and two other recently surrendered Zhejiang senior officials, might have been involved in Ant Group’s failed IPOs in Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges.
On Sunday, Ant Group denied the accusation and stated that it would file law suits against those behind the claim.
However, Yin Ke, an Australia-based former director assistant of retail business of Zhejiang Ping’an Bank Hangzhou branch, confirmed that CNA’s report was correct and said that Zhou was also involved in taking bribes from real estate enterprises.
Yin told the Chinese-language Epoch Times on Sunday that he has good relations with Zhou’s secretary Hu Jun, and he received information from trusted channels in Hangzhou.
Zhou is the highest ranking among the officials caught up in the case. The other two are former deputy leader of Zhejiang provincial rubber-stamp legislature Ma Xiaohui who surrendered on Thursday, and retired former deputy secretary-general of Zhejiang provincial government Zhang Shuitang who surrendered on July 22.
The case also involved another official, former CCP Haishu district boss of Ningbo city in Zhejiang Chu Mengxing and his wife, lawyer Hu Minchun, according to CNA.
Hu works for Chenghang Law Firm in Ningbo city in Zhejiang which was Ningbo City government’s legal consultant in purchasing, bidding, and contracts.
Chu was dismissed on June 1.
CNA reported that Hu had earlier tried to gain support from Chu’s friends—the officials Zhou, Ma, and Zhang.
Zhang reportedly tried to have Chu released but failed, while Zhou and Ma didn’t do anything.
Hu then reportedly gave evidence, that she had collected from handling Ant Groups’ IPOs case, to the CCDI which links Zhou and Ma to acts of alleged corruption.
CNA said that Hu alleged Zhou’s family spent 500 million yuan ($77 million) in purchasing Ant Groups’s stocks before the IPOs, and was repaid 520 million yuan ($80 million) after the IPOs failed.
On Sunday, Ant Group denied that it had any connection with Hu and allegations of bribery that she mentioned.
The four officials being investigated are being detained at separate secret locations.
Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.