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China graft investigation into ex-head of quake city

Published on Dec 4, 2013 2:06 PM

BEIJING (AFP) - The former chief of a Chinese city hit by a devastating earthquake is under investigation for "serious discipline violations", officials said on Wednesday, amid accusations that he used the disaster to defraud the government.

Xu Mengjia was removed last month as the top party official of Yan'an in the southwest, which was hit by a 6.6-magnitude earthquake in April that killed 196 people and injured more than 10,000.

The probe was announced on the website of the ruling Communist party's top disciplinary inspection body, which said he was "suspected of serious discipline violations" - a commonly used euphemism for corruption.

Following the earthquake, allegations emerged online that Xu exaggerated the disaster to cheat the central government of relief funds, and that he had illegally sold state-owned land.

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