China's Communist party expels Sinopec ex-president

Wang Tianpu during a news conference in this March 25, 2013 file photo.
Wang Tianpu during a news conference in this March 25, 2013 file photo.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

BEIJING (AFP) - The former president of China's state-owned Sinopec, Asia's top oil refiner, has been ousted from the Communist Party for corruption, its anti-graft watchdog said on Friday (Sept 18).

Sinopec ranked second on Fortune magazine's Global 500 company list this year with US$359.2 billion (S$499 billion) in assets and US$446.8 billion in revenues.

Wang Tianpu, who was put under investigation in April, was found to have taken bribes, offered benefits in exchange for his own promotion, and embezzled public assets, among other wrongdoings, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a statement.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has pursued a highly publicised anti-graft drive since taking office, vowing to go after both senior "tigers" and low-level "flies".

The campaign has ensnared a long list of officials including former security czar Zhou Yongkang - who like Wang had a background in the oil industry.

But critics say the drive is open to factionalism and that the Communist Party has failed to introduce systemic reforms to prevent graft, such as public disclosure of assets.

The CCDI statement said that "As a high-ranking cadre of the party, Wang Tianpu seriously violated disciplines." His actions were "vicious in nature and the circumstances were severe", it added.

The party had decided to expel him and the government had approved his removal from his public posts, it said.

His case has been transferred to judicial authorities - normally a precursor to prosecution and trial, with conviction virtually guaranteed in the country's party-supervised courts.