Agribank Slumps on Report of Vice President Under Investigation

Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., the nation’s third-largest lender by market value, fell the most in six months on a report that Vice President Yang Kun is under investigation.

Yang is assisting investigations by “relevant authorities,” and this won’t affect operations, the bank said in a statement to the Shanghai stock exchange today, after the market closed. It didn’t elaborate. Yang’s conduct is being examined by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, Caixin magazine reported on its website earlier, citing people it didn’t identify. The commission is responsible for curbing corruption and other crimes by Communist Party members.

Yang didn’t answer a call to his office or respond to an e- mail seeking comment. He was barred from leaving the country about three weeks ago, Caixin said.

Shares of Agricultural Bank fell 4 percent, the most since Nov. 23, to close at HK$3.12 in Hong Kong. The benchmark Hang Seng Index declined 1.9 percent.

China, where a leadership transition is set to begin this year, has stepped up efforts to ensure party loyalty and clean up corruption after Politburo member Bo Xilai was suspended on accusations of “serious violations of discipline.” His wife, Gu Kailai, was taken into custody for involvement in a murder. Premier Wen Jiabao said the government may lose its grip on power unless it fights harder against graft.

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