Jailed ex-chair of GeoMaxima Energy Sun Tiangang sues Sinopec in LA

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 July, 2013, 3:56am

The former chairman of a Hong Kong-listed oil pipeline firm has sued China Petroleum & Chemical for US$5.17 billion, alleging the company known as Sinopec was involved in a scheme that had him imprisoned for five years on fabricated charges.

Sun Tiangang, former chairman of GeoMaxima Energy Holdings, has filed a writ in the federal court in Los Angeles, accusing Sinopec of malicious prosecution among other allegations, Bloomberg reported.

He claimed that state-backed Sinopec and the mainland government were responsible for his arrest in 2005 after he sued Sinopec in Beijing for breaching an oil transportation agreement.

Sun said he was arrested in August 2005 and not brought before a judge until about three years later.

While he was imprisoned, his assets were seized and his wife and daughter had to go into hiding, according to the writ.

He was found not guilty on bribery and embezzlement charges and was released from detention in 2010, the writ added.

After two more years of house arrest, he was allowed to leave for the US last year, Sun added. He has received threats, including against his wife and daughter who are still in China, warning him not to sue Sinopec in the US, the writ said.

Sinopec had no immediate comment.

According to GeoMaxima's stock exchange filings, it operated a pipeline between Sinopec's Tahe oilfield and a railway station in Xinjiang and had the right to transport the field's oil until the pipeline reached its full capacity under a 1999 deal. It said Sinopec built and used its own pipeline in late 2003, causing losses for GeoMaxima.

Sun resigned as chairman of GeoMaxima for personal reasons, the firm said in mid-2005. Its lawsuit against Sinopec in Beijing was "satisfactorily settled" after the two sides signed a new transportation deal in December 2005, it added.

GeoMaxima was later renamed Genesis Energy Holdings.