17 December 2013, News Wires – The Chinese government has detained two more senior executives of China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) as part of a wider graft investigation into the state energy giant, according to reports.
CNPC and its listed unit PetroChina are at the centre of one of the biggest corruption investigations into the Chinese state sector in years.
CNPC’s chief accountant Wen Qingshan and the head of PetroChina’s oil trading vehicle Chinaoil, Wang Lihua , were taken away by authorities last week, Reuters reported citing two people with direct knowledge of the matter. Wang is also CNPC’s deputy chief economist.
The news agency said it was not immediately clear whether the two officials were themselves the target of the investigation or were assisting in the broader probe of the state oil giant.
Beijing stunned the Chinese energy industry in August-September with announcements that five former top executives at PetroChina and CNPC were being investigated for “serious discipline violations” – shorthand generally used to describe graft.
They included Jiang Jiemin, former chairman of both entities, and Wang Yongchun, who was vice president of CNPC in charge of China’s largest oilfield at Daqing in the country’s north-east.
Authorities have given no further details on what these officials may have done wrong, but Reuters reported that the investigations suggest China’s President Xi Jinping wants to tackle graft in an industry that ranks as one of the most powerful corners of the state-owned corporate sector.
Wen, 54, was also appointed chairman of listed Kunlun Energy in August, replacing Li Hualin, who the company said was being investigated by authorities. Kunlun Energy shares were suspended early on Tuesday.
Wang, one of the few top female executives of the state giant, has since 1998 been chief of Chinaoil, one of the largest Chinese oil traders, which has over the years expanded rapidly into an influential player in the global oil market.
Neither PetroChina nor CNPC could be reached immediately for comment.