China's top spy under investigation for graft

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • Updated: Jan 16, 2015 15:02 IST

One of China’s top spy chiefs, Ma Jian, is being investigated for corruption, the government announced on Friday, netting yet another top official in President Xi Jinping’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign.

Ma, the vice-minister for state security, in the powerful Ministry of State Security— was said to have been in-charge of China’s counter-espionage and covert operations. The brief announcement of Ma being put under investigation was made by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection on Friday.

“Ma Jian, Vice Minister of State Security, is under investigation for suspected serious violation of disciplines and laws,” the one-line statement from the CPC said. Violation of discipline and laws usually means corruption.

The investigation, and probable arrest, has made Ma the highest-ranking national security official to be investigated since the arrest of the powerful Zhou Yongkang, the country’s former security tsar and member of the elite CPC Politburo Standing Committee last year. Ma’s relatives are also under the scanner, reports had said earlier.

“It is not clear what triggered the probes, but it is believed to be linked to a high-profile anti-graft investigation into activities at the top of Founder Group, a Peking University-owned technology conglomerate,” the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP) had reported earlier this week.

The SCMP report added: “Ma, the executive deputy minister of the omnipotent Ministry of State Security and who sources say was in charge of the mainland’s massive counter-espionage operations, is believed to be close to Founder chief executive Li You who allegedly financed hugely profitable securities trades carried out by one of Ma’s relatives.”

The announcement about Ma comes within a day of the government saying that it was investigating Liu Zheng, deputy head of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Logistics Department for “suspected legal violations. “Liu was put under investigation in November by the military procuratorate, according to a report published on the official PLA website, which listed 16 senior officers -- of corps level and above -- as subjects of investigation in 2014,’’ the state media reported.

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