(Corrects to say officials taken away, not detained)
HONG KONG/BEIJING Dec 17 The Chinese government
has questioned two more senior executives of China National
Petroleum Company (CNPC) as part of a wider graft investigation
into the state energy giant, two people with direct knowledge of
the matter told Reuters.
CNPC and its listed unit PetroChina are at the
centre of one of the biggest corruption investigations into the
Chinese state sector in years.
Wen Qingshan, CNPC's chief accountant, and Wang Lihua, head
of PetroChina's oil trading vehicle Chinaoil, were taken away by
authorities last week, said the people, who cannot be named as
they are not authorised to talk to the media. Wang is also
CNPC's deputy chief economist.
It was not immediately clear whether the two officials were
themselves the target of the investigation or were assisting in
the broader probe of the state oil giant.
Beijing stunned the Chinese energy industry in
August-September with announcements that five former top
executives at PetroChina and CNPC were being investigated for
"serious discipline violations" - shorthand generally used to
They included Jiang Jiemin, former chairman of both
entities, and Wang Yongchun, who was vice president of CNPC in
charge of China's largest oilfield at Daqing in the country's
Authorities have given no further details on what these
officials may have done wrong, but the investigations suggest
China's President Xi Jinping wants to tackle graft in an
industry that ranks as one of the most powerful corners of the
state-owned corporate sector.
Wen, 54, was also appointed chairman of listed Kunlun Energy
in August, replacing Li Hualin, who the company said
was being investigated by authorities. Kunlun Energy shares were
suspended early on Tuesday.
Wang, one of the few top female executives of the state
giant, has since 1998 been chief of Chinaoil, one of the largest
Chinese oil traders, which has over the years expanded rapidly
into an influential player in the global oil market.
Neither PetroChina nor CNPC could be reached immediately for
comment. It was not possible to contact Wen or Wang.
(Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Charlie Zhu; Editing by Dean