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Chinese company shares details of a corruption investigation

HONG KONG — A company listed in Hong Kong that is caught up in a corruption investigation focused on China’s biggest state-owned oil conglomerate said Thursday that Chinese investigators had questioned it about projects, seized documents and frozen some bank accounts.

The company, Wison Engineering Services, disclosed the details in an announcement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. They are the latest public signs of a spreading corruption inquiry that has brought down one senior Chinese Communist Party official, Jiang Jiemin, and encroached on Zhou Yongkang, the retired head of China’s powerful domestic security administration.

“As part of their investigations, the regulatory authorities made enquiries about certain projects” of Wison and its subsidiaries, and have “taken books and records and frozen certain bank accounts,” the company said.

Hua Bangsong, the billionaire chairman and founder of Wison, has been helping authorities in China with the investigation, the company said this month. In its latest announcement, Wison said it had been unable to contact Hua, and that Zhao Hongbin, a financial manager of a Wison subsidiary, was also “assisting in the investigation.”

—Chris Buckley, The New York Times

Mccain sharply criticizes Putin but says he’s pro-Russian

MOSCOW — In a combative essay published Thursday in the online newspaper Pravda, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., declared himself to be “pro-Russia” but delivered a blistering attack on President Vladimir Putin, describing him as presiding over a failed petro-state, a quasi-dictator who rules “by corruption, repression and violence.”

McCain’s article was intended to answer an Op-Ed column by Putin in The New York Times on Sept. 12 that made the case against President Barack Obama’s threatened military strike on Syria. Putin’s column, in which he presented Russia’s position as defending international law and respect for state sovereignty, generated fierce debate, including praise and accusations of hypocrisy.

While Putin’s article focused more generally on U.S. foreign policy, McCain, who has long been a sharp critic of the Kremlin, focused squarely on the Russian president. In his introduction, though, he first made an effort to dispel the idea that he is anti-Russia, a perception that is widespread here.

McCain did not make any effort to defend the policies of the United States, but he accused Putin of seeking to shield the regime of President Bashar Assad of Syria.

—David M. Herszenhorn, The New York Times