China's Communist Party has announced a corruption probe into another ex-associate of retired senior politician Zhou Yongkang, who himself is the subject of a rumored investigation.
The party's internal graft body said Hainan vice governor Ji Wenlin is suspected of "severe violations of disciplines and laws." It gave no other details, but the charge almost always implies corruption.
Ji's resume suggests close links to the powerful Zhou. He served as his secretary and aide during Zhou's time as land resources minister and provincial head of Sichuan province in the 1990s and 2000s.
Other Zhou allies have been questioned for corruption in recent months, including ex-Vice Minister for Public Security Li Dongsheng and Jiang Jiemin, the head of a commission that regulates state-owned companies.
Several media reports have suggested that the party even may be considering corruption charges against Zhou, who until late 2012 was one of the country's very top leaders.
China's government has not commented on any investigation against Zhou. If confirmed, it would be the first time in decades the party has investigated economic crimes by a former or current Politburo Standing Committee member.
The 70-year-old Zhou, who has not appeared in public since early October, also served as China's powerful security czar.
General Secretary Xi Jinping, who also serves as China's president, has vowed to crack down on rampant corruption within the party, both at senior and low levels.