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China Retail Executive Wang Being Probed in Bribery Case

Wang Zongnan, a former Shanghai Friendship Group Inc. and Lianhua Supermarket Holdings Co. chairman, is under investigation by Shanghai prosecutors on suspicion of taking bribes.

Wang is also being probed on allegations he misused public funds while an executive at the two companies, the Shanghai Municipal People’s Prosecution Service said on its website yesterday. Bright Food Group Co., the state-owned foodmaker Wang resigned from as chairman in November, was not implicated.

A call to the Shanghai Friend Group’s media relations department was not answered. Investor relations officials for Lianhua Supermarket could not be immediately reached for comment.

President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign has entangled executives from state-owned companies including China Resources Holdings Co. and PetroChina Co. The allegations against Wang stem from when he worked at Lianhua Supermarket and Shanghai Friendship. He held the top spot at Lianhua from 2003 to 2006, and was chairman at Shanghai Friendship from 2000 to 2006, according to company documents.

Wang, 59, is also a former Communist Party deputy chief for Shanghai’s Huangpu district.

At Bright Food, he helped oversee some of the dairy and foodmaker’s largest overseas acquisitions. Bright agreed to buy a 60 percent stake in British cereal maker Weetabix Ltd. in 2012, and 75 percent of Australia’s Manassen Foods in 2011.

Bright said on Nov. 28 that Wang would step down as chairman for health reasons.

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