BEIJING, Dec 17 (Reuters) - China's top anti-corruption agency is investigating whether officials at the national securities regulator used insider knowledge of the country's stock market rescue effort to enrich friends and themselves, the Wall Street Journal reported today, citing officials familiar with the probe.
In November, the China Central Disciplinary Inspection Committee (CCDI), the Communist Party's top graft-busting body, announced it was investigating Yao Gang, a deputy head of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) for suspected "serious breaches of discipline", the usual euphemism for corruption.
Investigators are probing whether Yao leaked classified information about the government's market rescue to executives at brokerages including Citic Securities and Guotai Junan Securities Co so they could buy stocks before they were purchased by state funds, the Wall Street Journal said, citing officials with knowledge of the matter.
Representatives from Citic Securities and Guotai Junan weren't available for comment. The CCDI also wasn't available for comment. The CSRC didn't immediately respond for comment.
Zhang Yujun, the assistant chairman of the securities regulator, also was put under investigation for "serious violation of discipline", the graft watchdog said in September.
Chinese brokerages, including Citic Securities, late last month said they were being investigated by the CSRC for suspected rule breaches related to the signing of margin trading contracts.
Guotai Junan Securities, along with Haitong Securities , also are being probed by anti-corruption investigators, the official Xinhua news agency reported in November.
In September, the CSRC also said it would punish Founder Securities, GF Securities, Haitong Securities, and Huatai Securities following an investigation of the brokers.
Reporting By Matthew Miller; Editing by Sam Holmes