Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fitting the Noose Around the White Collar

China is serious about punishing white-collar crime.

From AFP:

Image from Bloomberg

BEIJING (AFP) — The former head of Chinese oil giant Sinopec, Chen Tonghai, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve in a corruption case involving millions of dollars, state press has reported.

A Beijing intermediate court handed down the sentence after finding Chen guilty of graft amounting to 195.7 million yuan (28.8 million dollars) when he served as a top Sinopec official from 1999 to 2007, the People's Daily said.

Chen was also convicted of illegally appropriating funds from projects and land transfers during the period when he served as assistant general manager, then general manager and chairman of the board of Sinopec, it said.

The two-year reprieve means that Chen's sentence will be commuted to life in prison if he commits no further crime while in jail.

"Chen Tonghai received large amounts of bribes, the circumstances of his crimes were very serious and warrant the death penalty," the report, citing the verdict said.

Chen, 60, also turned over to the state all of his gains from the graft, it added.

Because Chen helped investigators in the case, expressed remorse, and provided information on the crimes of other people linked to the case, the court issued the two-year reprieve, it said.

Read On
I was drawn into this story by the headline: "Death Sentence for Oil Executive." The whole suspended sentence makes it a little bit anti-climactic (in a sensationalistic sense), but the tough love still says a lot about China's commitment to stamping out corporate crime.

I'm not a huge fan of the death penalty. I used to be. But somewhere along the line the whole idea of state-sanctioned killings.

While I don't support capital punishment, I do like that China is serious about punishing the people who do big crimes. The Ken Lays, Bernie Madoffs, and Chen Tonghais of the world should pay dearly for their crimes. Even if they committed them from behind mahogany desks while sitting in leather chairs.


Anonymous said...

"While I don't support capital punishment, I do like that China is serious about punishing the people who do big crimes"


One story I read sickened me though, I can't remember if it was on your blog or not, but it was about a fleet of 50 mobile execution vans recently launched in China. Just disturbing.

Hang said...

He should be given a death penalty immediately. Giving the two-year reprieve to this kind of crime is ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

YOu cant be serious! I doubt he has committed any more crimes than any other person in his position. He just slipped up somewhere along the line and didn't get out when he should have.