Ex-Chinese oil chief sentenced for graft

Beijing, Jan 24 (IANS) A Chinese court has sentenced Wang Tianpu, former president of Sinopec group, the country’s largest oil refinery, to 15 years in prison for corruption.

Wang was arrested and expelled from the Communist Party of China in September 2015, accused of taking bribes and helping his relatives, Xinhua news agency reported.

His sentence comes less than a week after the former general manager of China’s largest oil company, CNPC, Liao Yongyuan, was sentenced on January 19 to 15 years in prison for extortion and receiving bribes.

The Nanchang City Intermediate People’s Court in Jiangxi province also fined Wang 3.2 million yuan ($468,500) and ordered the confiscation of all his illicit gains.

According to the ruling, Wang received bribes totalling 33.4 million yuan ($4 million) in money and property between 2003 and 2014 and illegally possessed assets worth almost 800,000 yuan ($117,000).

The court explained it had reduced his sentence because during the trial he confessed to his crimes, showed remorse and voluntarily turned over all his appropriation.

Wang is one of the high-profile cases netted in the anti-corruption campaign of Chinese President Xi Jinping since taking power four years ago.

Wang has been president of Sinopec since 2011. The company has joint ventures with Spain’s Repsol and large investments in Latin America.

While in office, the former Sinopec chief was also fined for the company’s oil pipeline explosion in Qingdao city which killed 62 people and injured 136 in November 2013.