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The former chairman of the state-owned Bank of Beijing is being investigated for alleged corruption

BEIJING (AP) — The former chairman of the state-owned Bank of Beijing is under investigation for corruption, the latest in a series of graft investigations focused on the country’s financial sector.

Yan Bingzhu, who led the bank since its establishment in 1996 and until he retired in 2017, is among several top officials being probed for “seriously violating discipline and the law,” according to a notice published on the city of Beijing’s official website on Friday.

He is the latest official to be probed for graft as part of President Xi Jinping’s decade-long anti-corruption campaign that critics say has been used partly to remove his political rivals.

Yan had not appeared in public for more than six months.

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Xi in January vowed to intensify the crackdown against misconduct in the finance, energy and infrastructure sectors, a move observers fear may further stifle the country’s economic recovery.

Another retired financial executive, Tang Shuangning, who served as chairman of China Everbright Group, was arrested two months ago on suspicion of embezzlement and bribery.

Others who have been targeted for alleged corruption include a former Chinese central bank senior official, Sun Guofeng, who was sentenced to over 16 years in prison for accepting bribes.

Sun Deshun, former president of state-owned China CITIC Bank, was also sentenced to life imprisonment for accepting more than $130 million in bribes during his career. Another finance executive, Zhang Hongli, a former senior executive of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the country's biggest bank, has also been investigated for graft.

The Associated Press