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Chinese regulator probes Sinovel power firm

BEIJING, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Sinovel Wind Group Ltd. , the power generation company accused by the U.S. government of industrial espionage, announced that it is under criminal investigation by China's stock markets regulator for allegedly breaking securities laws.

Sinovel, once the biggest wind turbine manufacturer in China, made the announcement in a notice to the Shanghai Stock Exchange dated Sunday.

Shares in the company dropped 9.9 percent on Monday. The stock has lost more than 80 percent of its value since the company listed in January, 2011.

Beijing-based Sinovel said that it would "actively cooperate" with the investigation by the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

Last June, the U.S. Department of Justice charged Sinovel and two of its executives, Su Liying and Zhao Haichun, with stealing proprietary software from AMSC, a Devens, Massachusetts-based company.

Also charged was Dejan Karabasevic, an AMSC employee whom Sinovel gave an 11 million yuan ($1.82 million) contract to hand over company source code.

AMSC once provided wind turbine design, engineering services and power electronics and controls to Sinovel. U.S. authorities said the alleged theft cost AMSC $800 million.

AMSC also is suing Sinovel for intellectual property theft at the Beijing High Court, where a decision is expected to be handed down shortly.

Sinovel announced in December that it had changed its corporate auditor. The company also has announced many key personnel changes in recent months.