Former oil executive jailed for graft

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SHANGHAI: A former top official with state-owned China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) was sentenced to 12 years for corruption Thursday, the latest prison term meted out to one-time allies of the country’s jailed ex-security chief.

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Liao Yongyuan, the former CNPC general manager, was also fined 1.5 million yuan ($220,000) for taking bribes and being unable to explain his wealth, according to a statement by a court in the city of Dezhou in Shandong province where he was tried.

Liao is one of several once senior officials who have been jailed since the downfall of China’s former national security boss Zhou Yongkang, who wielded vast power through oversight of the police and courts until his 2012 retirement.

Zhou was jailed for life in 2015 for bribery, abuse of power and leaking state secrets, becoming the highest ranking ex-official prosecuted by Beijing for corruption in decades.

He was also a former chief of CNPC, the parent company of publicly-listed PetroChina.

President Xi Jinping has vowed to root out corruption, and a number of former high-fliers have been jailed or placed under investigation since he came to power in 2012.

But critics say a lack of transparency around the purge raises concerns that it could be used by Xi to eliminate political enemies.

Authorities announced Liao was under investigation in March 2015 just weeks before charging Zhou.

The Dezhou court statement said that during his time with the Chinese energy giant from 1997 to 2014, Liao abused his position for personal gain, taking a total of 13.39 million yuan in bribes from 2003 to 2015.

AFP

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