07/20/2009, 00.00
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Investigations into corruption in a Chinese company connected to the son of Hu Jintao

Prominent newspapers report that the state run NucTech, leader of equipment for x-ray security, is suspected of fraud and corruption in Europe, Namibia and the Philippines. The company is controlled by another firm in which Hu Haifeng was a manager. No official comment.
Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The European Union is investigating NucTech, a Chinese firm linked to  Hu Haifeng, 38, the son of Chinese President Hu Jintao, for "unfair competition".

Chinese state-owned NucTech, is leading manufacturer of x-ray equipment for security checks at airports and ports and declares that it holds 90% of the Chinese market in the sector. Smiths Group, the largest among UK based engineering companies, has accused  it of having offered clients "soft loans" granted by China to pay for supplies of its machines. This leads to a significant price reduction, to the detriment of other producing companies such as Smiths, its largest competitor in Europe.

According to British newspaper The Daily Telegraph online, the Chinese company is "under investigation", a formula that often precedes a formal accusation.

The investigation, which begun in March, concerns a contract with HM Revenue & Cusotms in 2006 for the supply of these machines, and NucTech negotiations with other customers.

It is not known whether Hu has been interviewed by the Commission of Inquiry, but he has recently relinquished the post in the management company Tsingua Hondings, which controls NucTech and about 30 other leading companies.

The Chinese company is also under investigation in Namibia, where last week three people were arrested for fraud and corruption, including the Chinese Fan Yang, in relation to a contract for more than 39 million Euros for the provision of scanners for ports and airports. According to the local anti-corruption Commission, Beijing provided funding to the Government of Namibia, with the agreement that it would spent it contracting Chinese firms. NucTech, on receiving payment from Namibia, signed a contract with the local Teko Trading, to whom it turned over a part of the sum for reasons as of yet to be established. Yang is one of the owners of Teko. Noah Paulus, director of the Anti Corruption Commission of Namibia, told the Daily Telegraph that he intends to question Hu, although he has excluded him from being among the suspects.

China is rife with corruption, particularly widespread among Communist Party officials. For years Beijing has proclaimed zero tolerance. There have been serious arrests and convictions also for high ranking officials, throughout the country. Experts comment that this episode will be of great embarrassment to Hu Jintao, even if his son has not been formally charged, especially since NucTech (Nuclear Technology Company) is considered an offshoot of the elite circle from Tsinghua University, attended both by Hu and by his son. No comment has been forthcoming from the Chinese firms involved, when reached by news agencies.



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