China decor magnate arrested for suspected bribery

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - A billionaire, who Chinese media say is linked to the downfall of the former mayor of Nanjing, has been arrested on suspicion of corruption.

The arrest was announced by the company he founded, Suzhou Gold Mantis Construction Decoration Co Ltd.

The family of Mr Zhu Xingliang, who ranked no.55 on the 2013 Forbes China Rich List with a fortune worth US$2.04 billion (S$2.59 billion), informed Gold Mantis of his arrest, the firm said in a statement to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange posted on Tuesday.

"The company received notification from family on Jan. 27 that Director and the person in actual control (of the firm) Mr Zhu Xingliang was arrested on suspicion of bribery with the approval of the prosecutor," the company filing said.

Shares in the interior decoration firm have dropped about 10 per cent since Monday. Mr Zhu is the company's biggest shareholder and the firm said business was operating normally following his arrest.

The arrest comes as China's President Xi Jinping makes the fight against endemic corruption a central theme of his administration. Mr Xi has vowed to pursue both high-flying "tigers", or senior officials, and lower-ranking "flies".

Mr Ji Jianye was removed from his post as Nanjing mayor on October 19, two days after a government announcement that he was under investigation for suspected "disciplinary violations" - a term often used for corruption - and breaking the law.

He is among the most senior government officials to be investigated. At the time, the state-backed Beijing News newspaper reported that Mr Zhu's company had received many government contracts in locales where Mr Ji was serving as a senior official before his time in Nanjing.

Mr Zhu had been under house arrest since July 27 and was being investigated for matters related to Mr Ji, the newspaper reported.

Gold Mantis is known for its work on several high-profile projects including the "Bird's Nest" Olympic stadium and the National Grand Theatre in Beijing.