By WAYNE MA
BEIJING -- A major contractor for PetroChina said Tuesday that its founder was assisting Chinese authorities with investigations, the latest executive to be identified in a sweeping anticorruption probe that has targeted high-ranking Chinese executives and government officials.
Hua Bangsong, who also is chairman and a controlling shareholder in Wison Engineering Services Co., is "assisting the relevant authorities in [China] with their investigations," the company said in a filing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Wison said its board of directors is "convinced that factual circumstances will be clarified."
Mr. Hua hasn't been accused of any wrongdoing. A spokesman for Wison said the company's operations would continue as normal. Mr. Hua, who owns almost 80% of Wison, wasn't available for comment.
Wison's shares were halted Monday pending the announcement and didn't resume trading on Tuesday.
Wison said it was aware of recent media reports on Wison's business relationships to PetroChina. Wison, which went public last year, said it completed a required compliance check before listing on the Hong Kong exchange and that its revenue from contracts with PetroChina for the first half of this year was "insignificant."
The Wison statement is the latest sign of a spreading investigation that in the past 10 days has seen five current and former executives at PetroChina or its parent company China National Petroleum Corp. placed under investigation for "severe disciplinary violations." The phrase "severe disciplinary violations" usually refers to alleged corruption.
The highest-level official publicly identified as being under investigation so far is Jiang Jiemin, the former chairman of CNPC and PetroChina. The government's Xinhua News Agency, citing the Communist Party's personnel office, said Tuesday that Mr. Jiang has been removed as head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the body that oversees state companies, due to the suspected violations.
It isn't clear whether any of these investigations are linked.
Based in Shanghai's Pudong district, Wison provides engineering, procurement and construction services to the petrochemical, refining and coal-to-chemical industries. The company also has operations in the US, Singapore and Saudi Arabia, according to its website.
Over the past decade, Wison has worked on a number of projects for PetroChina, according to Wison's website. In 2008, Wison built an oil refinery for PetroChina in Dalian, the largest facility of its kind at the time, it said.
Dow Jones Newswires