Wednesday, April 23, 2014   

China Resources chief accused of 'huge graft'
(07-17 16:56)

A journalist with China's official Xinhua news agency on Wednesday accused the head of a key state-owned firm of ''corruption involving a huge amount''.
The allegations -- in the form of an open letter to the ruling Communist Party's disciplinary department -- come as China's new leaders repeatedly pledge to stamp down on graft, AFP reports.
But within hours of Wang Wenzhi detailing his allegations on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, his account was blocked and could no longer be accessed.
Xinhua's own website itself carried a report on his posting, but then took it down.
Chinese authorities have in some cases encouraged whistle-blowers to reveal alleged corruption, but have also sometimes cracked down on them.
Wang accused Song Lin, chairman of China Resources (Holdings) Co, of losing the firm billions of yuan in a deal to buy assets from another company.
"Song Lin and other senior managers who participated in the acquisition neglected their duty and are suspected of graft involving a huge amount,'' Wang wrote.
Wang said China Resources agreed to buy several mining and factory assets in 2010 from a private company in the northern province of Shanxi for 7.9 billion yuan.
A previous potential bidder had estimated the same assets to be worth just 5.2 billion yuan, Wang added.
The licences of some of the coal mines which China Resources bought expired and production was suspended even before the purchase, according to Wang, with one now being used by farmers to graze their sheep.
China Resources, a Fortune Global 500 company, is a conglomerate operating in sectors including retail, property, finance and electricity.
Company officials were not immediately available for comment.
The company reports directly to the central government, making Song's position equivalent to a vice-minister, according to Chinese media reports.
The allegations come after unrelenting anti-corruption rhetoric by the country's leaders in recent months, with President Xi Jinping warning graft could "destroy the party'' and threatening "no leniency'' for those involved.
Liu Zhijun, the former rail minister, was given a suspended death sentence -- normally commuted to life in prison -- this month for bribery involving at least US$10.5 million, the highest-ranking official punished for corruption since the new leadership came into office.
Several other senior figures have come under investigation, including Liu Tienan, former deputy director of the top economic planning agency, and senior provincial officials.
   
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