The former mayor of the city of Nanjing was expelled Thursday from China's ruling Communist Party, clearing the way for him to be prosecuted in a nationwide anti-corruption crackdown.

Ji Jianye, who also was Nanjing's deputy party secretary, was stripped of party membership after he was found to have abused his position and improperly accepted money and gifts, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It said his case will be handed to prosecutors.

The ruling party leadership under President Xi Jinping is in the midst of a national crackdown on corruption. Xi has warned that public anger at graft could endanger the party's hold on power.

Ji, who was fired in October, was known as "Mayor Bulldozer" for his penchant for massive construction projects in Nanjing, which is west of Shanghai on the Yangtze River. The city of 8 million people is the capital of Jiangsu province.

Investigators found Ji "took advantage of his position to seek benefits for others, received a huge amount of money and gifts either by himself or through his family members," Xinhua said, citing a statement by the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

He is "morally corrupt," the statement said. It gave no other details.