China execs jailed for graft

Allies of disgraced security chief Zhou get 20-year terms

BEIJING • A court in China yesterday jailed a former senior energy executive for 20 years on corruption charges, the latest official to fall in a sweeping anti-graft campaign linked to allies of disgraced security chief Zhou Yongkang.

President Xi Jinping has warned that rampant corruption threatens the survival of the ruling Communist Party and has waged a war on graft in the past three years that has felled scores of top officials in the party, the government, the military and state-owned companies.

Wang Yongchun was a deputy general manager at the country's biggest oil company, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), until he became caught up in a graft probe last year.

CNPC, the parent of PetroChina, was a power base for domestic security czar Zhou, who was jailed for life for corruption in June.


Wang Yongchun was a deputy general manager at CNPC. PHOTO: SINA WEIBO

Wang went on trial in July on charges of "holding a huge amount of property with unidentified sources" and "abuse of power by a staff member of a state- owned company".

 

"The property of defendant Wang Yongchun and his family obviously exceeded legal income, and the source of 42.5 million yuan (S$9.4 million) in assets could not be explained," said the Intermediate Court of Xiangyang city in Hubei province.

One of the several senior CNPC executives under probe is former chairman Jiang Jiemin, who on Monday was jailed for 16 years for bribery and abuse of power.

The court said Wang, under the direction of Jiang, had assisted in operations that led to "extremely large losses" to state interests.

Zhou, 72, is the most senior Chinese official to be ensnared in a graft scandal since the Communist Party swept to power in 1949, and many of his former colleagues or political allies have been caught up in the campaign.

CNPC, the parent of PetroChina, was a power base for domestic security czar Zhou Yongkang, who was jailed for life for graft in June.

A court in the north-eastern city of Tianjin yesterday opened the trial of another Zhou associate, former vice-governor of Hainan Ji Wenlin, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Ji, whose criminal probe began last year, illicitly received more than 20.4 million yuan in assets and bribes between 2002 and 2013, Xinhua reported.


Guo Yongxiang was a Zhou Yongkang aide from Sichuan. PHOTO: SINA WEIBO

Ji's official biography says he worked under Zhou when the latter was the party boss of Sichuan and the public security minister.

Separately, another Zhou aide from Sichuan, Guo Yongxiang, was sentenced to 20 years in prison yesterday in a Hubei court for bribery and other crimes.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2015, with the headline 'China execs jailed for graft'. Print Edition | Subscribe