China probes volleyball chief for suspected graft

Tue Aug 4, 2015 12:32am EDT
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's main anti-corruption agency has begun an investigation into the country's volleyball chief, it said on Tuesday, the latest sports official to be caught up in the country's sweeping campaign against deep-seated graft.

The ruling Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said that Pan Zhichen, director of the sports ministry's volleyball administrative center, is being probed for "suspected serious breaches of discipline and law", the usual euphemism for corruption.

It provided no further details. It was not possible to reach Pan for comment and was not clear if he has a lawyer.

The General Administration of Sport, or sports ministry, did not answer telephone calls seeking comment.

Last month, the government sacked a deputy sports minister who sat on China's Olympics committee, following a corruption investigation.

Beijing, and Zhangjiakou in the neighboring province of Hebei, won the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympics last week.

Hebei's top official Zhou Benshun, who was the provincial party chief, was also put under investigation last month. He had previously attended meetings of the Olympic bid committee.

Corruption in international sports is in focus because of a U.S. and Swiss probe into world soccer body FIFA.

China, which is aggressively seeking to stamp out graft in Party and government ranks, has also sought to eject corrupt elements from its sports establishment, especially within soccer, which has been hit by match-fixing scandals.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

China's Wang Fan (rear) attempts to bloack a shot from Thailand's Usa Tenpaksee during the Women's Beach Volleyball Bronze Medal match at Songdo Global University during the 17th Asian Games in Incheon September 28, 2014.  REUTERS/Tim Wimborne