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Telecom scam rocks nation, official held

world Updated: Jun 01, 2011 21:31 IST

China has been hit by a major telecom scam, as senior executive of the country's top firm was arrested and about 60 government and telecom employees, were under investigation.

Ma Li, deputy general manager of the China Mobile's data service division has been arrested by anti-graft authorities on corruption charges, state run Xinhua news agency reported.

Initial probe showed that the amount of money involved in Ma's case is likely to top 110 million yuan ($17 million) but the illegal transaction could exceed 350 million Yuan, ($54 million), it quoted officials, as saying.

The probe had led to about 60 other people being investigated.

Ye Bing, chief executive officer (CEO) of ASPire Holdings, a corporation held by China Mobile, had been under investigation since mid-May.

ASPire has been acting as a bridge between China Mobile and other data service providers (SP).

Anti-graft authorities launched a close investigation into the three top telecommunications service operator companies -- China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom.

SP companies, closely connected to these three companies, are also being investigated, it said.

In December 2009, Zhang Chunjiang, then vice chairman of China Mobile, was removed from his post on allegations of corruption.

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of The Chinese Communist Party later found that he abused his position by taking bribes.

China's telecommunications industry is considered to be one of the most lucrative sectors in the country.

As country's biggest wireless service provider with its subscriber over 580 million, China Mobile is ranked as the second most profitable company in China and the fourth largest company in business revenue in 2010.