China's anti-graft watchdog says Sinopec chief faces investigation

China's anti-graft watchdog says Sinopec chief faces investigation
Wang Tianpu, president of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec)

CHINA - Wang Tianpu, president of the State-owned Sinopec Group, Asia's biggest crude oil refiner, is under investigation for suspected "serious disciplinary violations", the anti-graft watchdog said on Monday.

The China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection posted the statement on its website in the late afternoon, without giving further details.

The board of the company published a short statement on Monday evening, saying that the company supports the decision of the central government and will continue to fight against corruption.

"The company will make anti-corruption a priority task and make efforts to keep production and operations stable," said the statement.

Wang, aged 52, a board director of China Petrochemical Corporation, or Sinopec, was appointed president of the company in August 2011.

The State Council gave him a major demerit on his record in January 2014 because of an explosion on Nov 22, 2013, in Shandong province, in the Donghuang II pipeline operated by Sinopec. The explosion killed 62 people.

The accident caused a financial loss of 750 million yuan (S$160.6 million).

The company later published a statement saying corrosion weakened the pipeline and caused crude oil to leak into the municipal drainage system.

Fu Chengyu, chairman of Sinopec was given a record of demerit and three other senior officials, including Wang, were given different administrative sanctions, ranging from a warning to dismissal.

China's administrative sanctions include a warning, record of demerit, record of a major demerit, demotion, removal from office and dismissal.

Wang was in the public eye last week when Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli met leaders and officials from Russian energy companies in a delegation led by his Russian counterpart Arkady Dvorkovich.

Wang attended the meeting and joined the luncheon.

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