A prominent Chinese property developer has fled to New Zealand after being caught up in an anti-corruption probe into the former deputy mayor of Guangzhou, China's fourth-largest city, according to a foreign media report.
London's Financial Times reports that Tan Bingzhao, a New Zealand citizen, allegedly paid "huge bribes" to vice-mayor Cao Jianliao in return for cheap land and commercial contracts.
Cao was dismissed from his position earlier this year for corruption and is currently in prison.
Investigators have accused him of graft worth up to US$43 million and sexual relations with as many as 11 mistresses, according to the report.
The Financial Times said Beijing had asked the New Zealand Government for information and permission to interview Tan, as well as Cao's wife, child and mistress who were already living in this country when he was detained in December following an investigation by the Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).
Since coming to power in March 2013 Chinese president Xi Jinping has launched a major anti-corruption campaign aimed at cracking down on rampant graft being committed by officials.
The CCDI recently launched an operation labelled "Fox Hunt 2014" in the hope of tracking down fugitives in countries including the United States, Canada and Australia, according to the Financial Times.
The situation with Tan could prove awkward for the New Zealand Government.
China is this country's biggest trading partner and officials here could come under considerable pressure to provide access and information to their counterparts in Beijing.
But the New Zealand Government would also be wary of assisting the CCDI -- which has been accused of torturing suspects -- in investigations involving New Zealand citizens and residents.
China has also used the death penalty in corruption cases.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) told the Financial Times that it was "not aware of any investigative activity in New Zealand by the CCDI".
The New Zealand Police said it had not been contacted by the CCDI, according to the report.
MFAT and Foreign Minister Murray McCully are yet to respond to questions from the Business Herald.