Ex-coal boss gets 8 years for 2.8m yuan corruption
A former top manager at China National Coal Group has been jailed for eight years by a Beijing court for taking more than 2.8 million yuan (HK$3.4 million) in bribes.
Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court found 59-year-old Zhang Baoshan, one of three deputy general managers at the listed unit of the nation's second-largest coal producer, guilty of taking bribes from three energy companies between 2007 and 2009, the Beijing Morning Post reported yesterday.
Zhang did not indicate that he planned to appeal against the verdict.
The report said Zhang received a lighter sentence because he surrendered himself to justice and had paid back the bribes. Prosecutors said Zhang engaged in corrupt activities during business co-operation between China National Coal and the firms through taking advantage of his position to unlawfully benefit the companies and take bribes from their management. Zhang paid only about three million yuan for a central Beijing apartment valued at almost five million yuan that he bought from the boss of Guangzhou Dayou Coal Sell.
He also received a Beijing golf club membership worth 680,000 yuan from G-Ocean Energy Group, a subsidiary of China National Coal, in May 2009, and 400,000 yuan in cash from a Zhejiang-based energy company in October 2009.
China National Coal's general office and the Beijing court were not available for comment yesterday.
Mainland media reports have said that Zhang was spotted by mainland authorities in a VIP casino room in Macau and was taken away by investigators on his return to the mainland in November 2009.
Zhang was formally arrested a month later for gambling with company money in Macau. The reports said Zhang had received a 'large amount of money' from people on the mainland to place bets in their name. Former G-Ocean Energy chairman Gao Jinghai was also questioned by the authorities. Economy and Nation Weekly, a magazine run by Xinhua, reported speculation that G-Ocean had offered 10 million yuan in cash to Zhang to enable him to gamble in Macau. China National Coal bought a 60 per cent stake in G-Ocean for three billion yuan in August 2009. Gao was the company's chairman before the takeover.
After Zhang's arrest, China National Coal released a statement saying Zhang had resigned as vice-chairman of China National Coal's Hong Kong- and Shanghai-listed unit China Coal Energy for personal reasons. The report said Zhang became addicted to gambling after suffering a career setback in October 2008 when Wang An, the former head of rival Shenhua Group's largest coal unit, Shendong Coal, was appointed to head China National Coal.