China's Communist Party expels former top COSCO executive

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China's ruling Communist Party has expelled a former COSCO Holdings executive for taking advantage of his position and claiming expenses for personal items, the party's anti-graft watchdog said on Monday.

The expulsion of Xu Minjie, who up to last November was an executive director at China's largest bulk shipping company, comes as China intensifies its efforts to crack down on graft in a government widely regarded as rife with corruption.

The party said it had now referred the matter to the relevant judicial bodies. Expulsions from the party are often the first move towards bringing formal charges and then putting the person on trial.

Contact information for Xu could not be obtained. COSCO did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment and calls to the company went unanswered.

COSCO's announcement in November that Xu was under investigation by authorities and his subsequent resignation marked the extension of the anti-graft campaign into the shipping industry. Previous investigations have mostly been in the energy sector.

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