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September 30, 2016

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Wanda fires manager implicated in graft

CHINESE entertainment and real estate giant Wanda yesterday said it had fired an executive implicated in the bribery of a local government official.

The announcement followed media reports that the executive had been named in court documents related to a government corruption trial.

Wanda said in a statement that former manager Leng Chuanjin had “seriously violated” company rules by using corporate funds to pay a local Party chief 300,000 yuan (US$45,000) as it sought to shake off partial government ownership and move into private hands.

The company first learned about the bribery case from media reports that Jin Cheng, former Party chief of Wanda’s home district, had been sentenced to jail on corruption charges, it said.

According to the Benxi Intermediate People’s Court’s judgement, two Wanda executives used company funds to pay Jin the sum in two installments.

The bribes were to “thank” Jin for helping Wanda transition from a state-owned company into a privately held firm, the court said.

Wanda’s boss Wang Jianlin has long insisted that his company did not rely on political help to achieve its stunning transformation from a regional real estate firm into a giant conglomerate that has bought major Hollywood studios and aims to challenge Disney.

From 2004 to 2007, Jin presided over discussions on Wanda’s restructuring.

During that time, the city government offloaded 70 million shares, allowing Wanda to go private.


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