Caixin
May 07, 2018 06:50 PM
POLITICS & LAW

Coal Boss Charged With Investigating Corruption Gets Investigated for Corruption

Pei Xiping, general manager of Yangquan Coal (pictured third from left), gives a provincial official a tour of the company in August. Photo: Yangquan Coal
Pei Xiping, general manager of Yangquan Coal (pictured third from left), gives a provincial official a tour of the company in August. Photo: Yangquan Coal

In an irony befitting modern China, the general manager of a coal company was put under investigation for corruption just two days after he was tasked with monitoring graft at the firm.

Pei Xiping, the general manager of state-owned Yangquan Coal Industry Group Co. Ltd., is being probed for serious violations of party discipline — a euphemism for corruption — China’s top anti-graft watchdog said Saturday.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection did not elaborate on the probe.

Pei’s is the latest in a string of corruption investigations targeting senior pro-vincial officials and top executives at state-owned coal companies, which have jolted the coal-rich region.

A former deputy head of the legislature in Shanxi province, Jin Daoming, was sentenced to life in prison in October 2016 over bribery and influence ped-dling linked to distribution of coal resources and promotion of officials.

Bai Peizhong, a former chairman of Shanxi Coking Coal Group Co., China’s biggest state-owned coking-coal firm, was sentenced to 13 1/2 years in prison two months later for accepting 35 million yuan ($5.5 million) in bribes in re-turn for favors in coal deals and promotions.

The investigation into Bai’s alleged corruption was triggered by a break-in at his house in November 2011, during which 50 million yuan worth of supposed ill-gotten wealth — including gold bars, cash and jewelry — was stolen, court documents showed.

More than a dozen top managers at large coal companies in Shanxi, including Bai, have been arrested over suspicions of bribery and embezzlement in recent years, a search of public records by Caixin showed.

Yangquan Coal, one of the top coal firms in the northern province, recorded $24.3 billion in sales in 2016, according to the company, and ranks 445 on the Fortune Global 500.

Pei, 56, spent much of his career at Yangquan Coal, rising through the ranks before he was promoted to general manager in 2012.

He was head of a group at the company to oversee an internal anti-graft operation slated to run from April to December, according to a statement released May 3 by the Shanxi Provincial State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.

Contact reporter Li Rongde (rongdeli@caixin.com)

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