Sinopec former chief gets suspended death sentence

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BEIJING, July 15 (RIA Novosti) - A former chairman of Sinopec Corp., China's second largest oil refiner, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve in a bribery case on Wednesday, Chinese state media reported.

Chen Tonghai was found guilty of receiving funds for helping others gain illegal interests in company projects as well as land transfers, Xinhua said.

The court issued a two-year reprieve as Chen helped with the investigation and provided information on other individuals connected to the case. If he commits no further crimes, the sentence is likely to be commuted to life in prison.

"Chen took an extremely large amount of bribes; severe enough for a death sentence ... But as he confessed and repented, provided tips about other people's criminal acts, and returned all the bribes, a reprieve was granted," the agency said.

The former chairman's personal property was confiscated.

According to court sources, Chen took about 195.73 million yuan ($28.66 million) in bribes from 1999 to June 2007, abusing his positions as deputy general manger of the China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group), general manager of the Sinopec Group, deputy chairman of the Sinopec Corp. and chairman of the Sinopec Corp.

Before Chen became Sinopec chairman, he worked as a refinery chief in eastern China in the early 1980's. In 1989 he became a deputy mayor of the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo, and served as a mayor from 1992 to 1994.

China's criminal code has 69 crimes punishable by death, which include large-scale financial crimes.

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