China says Interpol "red notice" issued for tycoon Guo Wengui

(Adds comment from Guo)

BEIJING, April 19 (Reuters) - China's Foreign Ministry said

on Wednesday Interpol had issued a "red notice" for Guo Wengui,

a controversial property tycoon who has made claims of

high-level corruption within the ruling Communist Party.

Guo, who is known to have close ties with disgraced former

state security vice-minister Ma Jian, has mainly lived in the

United States since leaving China two years ago after what he

says was a business dispute with relatives of a retired top

Communist Party official.

The South China Morning Post first reported that an Interpol

"red notice" was issued for Guo at China's request on Tuesday

evening, citing unidentified sources.

The newspaper said Guo was suspected of bribing Ma with 60

million yuan ($8.71 million). Ma, who worked in

counter-espionage, is being prosecuted for graft and was

expelled from the Communist Party in December.

"What we understand is that Interpol has already issued a

'red notice' for criminal suspect Guo Wengui," foreign ministry

spokesman Lu Kang said at a regular press briefing in Beijing,

without elaborating.

A "red notice" is an international alert for a wanted

person.

Guo, writing on his Twitter account, said Interpol was an

organisation and not a government and had no administrative

powers, and that for many years he had had no Chinese identity

documents.

"This will only make Wengui fight even more resolutely to

the end with these bad people. This is all just the beginning!"

he wrote, without elaborating.

In an emailed response to questions, Interpol said it did

not comment on specific cases without the approval of the

country sharing information on investigations and fugitives.

China's Ministry of Public Security did not respond to

requests for comment.

Countries requesting "red notices" can also have them

published on the Interpol website. There was no such notice for

Guo or any of his known aliases as of Wednesday afternoon.

"If no Red Notice is published, this is either because one

has not been requested or issued for that person, or the

requesting country has asked that it not be publicised,"

Interpol said in its email.

($1 = 6.8867 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Philip Wen; Editing by Simon

Cameron-Moore, Robert Birsel)