Sinopec manager has job put on ice over drinks bill
A senior executive of Sinopec, China's biggest supplier of petrol, has been suspended from duty after the company spent more than one million yuan on vintage wine and bottles of the prestigious spirit Maotai.
Lu Guangyu, general manager of the Guangdong branch of China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, was suspended from duty while he co-operates with the investigation, Xinhua reported.
Xia Yufei, deputy general manger of the group's petrol sales department, has been placed in temporary charge of the branch.
Lu was suspended after a public outcry sparked by the anonymous posting of photocopied invoices on the internet on Monday.
They showed the company had spent 1.15 million yuan (HK$1.4 million) on expensive alcohol.
The high price of oil in China and the oil giant's extremely large profits have long been a favourite source of complaint among internet users.
Sinopec said in a statement on Thursday that it had sent a team to investigate the alleged purchases and promised to punish anyone who was found to have violated party discipline or laws.
The invoices, made out to Sinopec Guangdong, showed the company splashed out on alcohol on three occasions in September last year.
Sinopec Guangdong bought 30 bottles of Maotai that had been stored for 50 years, another 30 bottles of 30-year-old Maotai, 60 bottles of 15-year-old Maotai and 360 bottles of non-vintage Maotai.
A bottle of 50-year-old Maotai sells for 22,000 yuan, while non-vintage Maotai sells for more than 1,000 yuan a bottle.
Another photocopy of an undated purchase showed the company spent 630,720 yuan on 696 bottles of imported alcohol, including 17 bottles of Chateau Lafite Rothschild produced in 1996, which is priced at more than 10,000 yuan a bottle.
The online posting claimed that Lu had ordered the alcohol and planned to use it at banquets or hand it out as gifts.
A spokeswoman for Sinopec's Guangdong branch confirmed the invoices were real but said the alcohol was intended to be resold at stores at Sinopec's gas stations.
The Xinhua report, citing an unidentified source in the company, said Sinopec Guangdong had begun selling off the alcohol at low prices after its purchases were revealed on the internet.