Caixin
Dec 13, 2019 07:50 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Another Retired Moutai Executive Hit With Corruption Investigation

Former Moutai deputy general manager and Communist Party committee member Du Guangyi has come under investigation for “serious violations of (Communist Party) discipline and law.” Photo: IC Photo
Former Moutai deputy general manager and Communist Party committee member Du Guangyi has come under investigation for “serious violations of (Communist Party) discipline and law.” Photo: IC Photo

Yet another former senior executive from Kweichow Moutai Co. Ltd. has fallen from grace as an ongoing graft crackdown continues to rock the world’s most valuable liquor company.

Former Moutai deputy general manager and Communist Party committee member Du Guangyi has come under investigation for “serious violations of (Communist Party) discipline and law,” the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection’s (CCDI) office in Southwest China’s Guizhou province announced on Wednesday.

The commission said in the announcement that Du had violated political discipline, resisted investigation by Communist Party authorities, used his position to gain benefits for others, and accepted extremely large bribes, for which he faces criminal charges. He has been expelled from the party; his illegal gains have been confiscated; and evidence of his alleged wrongdoing has been handed over to prosecutors, the watchdog said.

The 64-year-old retired in January 2016. He is the ninth former senior Moutai executive to be taken down on corruption charges since May, when investigators took in former chairman Yuan Renguo in connection with a probe of Wang Xiaoguang, former Guizhou vice governor, and Wang Sanyun, former party chief of neighboring Gansu province.

Under Yuan, Du Guangyi was responsible for sales and distribution of Feitian Moutai, the company’s famous premium brand of “baijiu,” the world’s most popular liquor variety. Most of the other eight former executives also worked in sales and distribution. The CCDI has accused them of exchanging Moutai distribution licenses for money, sex and political patronage. Moutai has been forced to replace the majority of its senior executives and develop a new sales model this year, after the Yuan investigation revealed deeply rooted corruption in the company’s existing distribution network.

Moutai reported its slowest six-month sales growth in three years in July, as it pivoted to a direct-sales strategy to root out graft.

Du began his career at the liquor group in 1999, working in senior positions and serving as a member of Kweichou Moutai’s executive board and party committee. Du was chairman of the Moutai liquor sales subsidiary before he retired. According to Moutai financial reports, Du earned a salary of 1.38 million yuan in his last year at the company.

Moutai’s Shanghai-listed shares closed up 2.29% at 1,163 yuan per share on Friday. The company broke a record to become China’s first stock with shares worth over 1,000 yuan on June 27.

Contact reporter Isabelle Li (liyi@caixin.com)

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