BEIJING Jan 25 The former chairman of China's
Sinopec Corp (0386.HK), Chen Tonghai, has been expelled from the
Communist Party and faces criminal prosecution on corruption
charges, state media reported on Friday.
The news came a week after state media said Chinese
President Hu Jintao pledged to intensify a crackdown on official
Chen, an oil industry veteran and formerly deputy head of
the country's macro-economic planner, is one of the most senior
officials toppled for corruption in the past two years.
"Chen has taken a huge amount of bribes and abused his power
to gain inappropriate benefits for his mistress. He led a
decadent life, and his behaviour is a severe breach of party
disciplines," state television said.
The report did not give more details.
Chen suddenly left the helm of Sinopec, China's
second-largest oil and gas firm, last June, two years before he
was due to retire.
In a November report, China's Caijing Magazine linked Chen
with a 45-year-old woman, Li Wei, owner of a local real estate
firm that allegedly bought land linked to a huge oil refinery
project in east China at cheap prices.
Among other high-profile corruption cases, Chen Liangyu was
sacked as Shanghai party boss in September 2006 and now faces
criminal investigation for his role in a scandal centred on the
misuse of the city's social security funds.
The former head of China's food and drug safety watchdog,
Zheng Xiaoyu, was executed last year shortly after being caught
taking bribes to renew drugs licences.
(Reporting by Zhou Xin and Chen Aizhu; writing by Chen Aizhu,
editing by Will Waterman)