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April 26, 2011

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Utilities company boss given life for 6m yuan embezzlement

THE boss of a local state-owned utilities company has been sentenced to life in prison for embezzlement and corruption that netted him almost 6 million yuan (US$920,000), Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

Wu Meirong, 66, was general manager of Shanghai Water and Electrical Co, which is owned by China International Water and Electric Corp.

He embezzled 5.395 million yuan in a stock share rights transfer and another 500,000 yuan by forging a construction contract, the Beijing No.1 Intermediate People's Court heard.

The court also ruled that Wu's personal property should be confiscated. Most of Wu's illegal gains have been recovered, said the court.

Wu was arrested in May 2008 after police received a tip-off from China Water Investment Group Co.

In 2005, Wu transferred 5.395 million yuan to a bank account under his control when dealing with the stock rights transfer of a textile and cloth company in Shanghai, prosecutors told the court.

The following year, he colluded with three deputy managers to draw up a fake construction contract for 3.4 million yuan, said prosecutors.

The court heard that 1.7 million yuan of the money was divided up as a "bonus," with Wu receiving 500,000 yuan. The remainder was paid as tax.Wu left the company in 2007.

His attorney said the distribution of bonuses was decided by the whole management team and that all staff received a share.

But the court ruled this was a means by which Wu and other managers covered up corruption.

Managers took the lion's share, with ordinary staff receiving little, said the court.

Other managers were sentenced to terms in jail in separate trials, said the authority.

It is uncertain if Wu will appeal.


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