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Apr 17, 8:56 AM EDT

Chairman of China conglomerate being investigated

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BEIJING (AP) -- China's ruling Communist Party says the chairman of a massive state-owned conglomerate is being investigated on suspicion of corruption, nine months after the government audited the company.

The party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said on its website Thursday that Song Lin was suspected of "serious violations of discipline and law." The phrase usually describes embezzlement, bribe-taking or related corruption that is considered rife in China's powerful state-run firms.

As head of China Resources Group, Song held a position equal to a government vice minister, making him among the most senior officials to be investigated in an ongoing crackdown on corruption.

Song and China Resources Group have denied any wrongdoing, dismissing accusations against them as slander.

Song had been repeatedly accused by a reporter for the official Economic Information Daily of embezzlement, dereliction of duty and keeping a mistress in violation of ethics rules.

The journalist, Wang Wenzhi, said executives from China Resources Group subsidiary China Resources Power had deliberately overpaid for an acquisition in 2010 and were responsible for the loss of several billions of yuan in state assets.

China Resources Group operates in sectors including power supply, gas, real estate and medicine.

The allegations surfaced last year as China's new leaders pledged to crack down on corruption that pervades the Communist Party and government.

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