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BEIJING (Reuters) - The former head of China's fifth largest steelmaker has been expelled from the ruling Communist Party for graft and will face a criminal investigation, the country's top anti-corruption watchdog said on Friday.
Deng Qilin, veteran former chairman of the Wuhan Iron and Steel Group, was first put under investigation by the Communist Party's graftbuster, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), last August.
The group, based in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province, is one of China's oldest steel mills and is also the parent of the Shanghai-listed Wuhan Iron and Steel Corp.. The company was not immediately available for comment.
CCDI said in a statement posted on its website (www.ccdi.gov.cn) on Friday that Deng was guilty of serious discipline violations, and had used his position to pursue his own private interests and those of his relatives.
It said Deng had obstructed and deceived investigators, and also accused him of a long-term involvement in "superstitious activities", a charge often employed by the Party to discredit corrupt officials.
Deng, 65, was an influential figure in China's steel sector until his official retirement in June last year. He served as head of the China Iron and Steel Association and was also a longstanding member of the National People's Congress, the country's legislature.
Since taking office three years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping has waged a war against corruption that has brought down numerous senior officials and state enterprise executives.
Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Clarence Fernandez