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Wison CFO Resigns as Bank Accounts Frozen in China Probe

PetroChina Co. supplier Wison Engineering Services Co. said Chinese authorities froze some bank accounts and its chief financial officer Chen Wenfeng quit amid an investigation into corruption surrounding the nation’s biggest oil company.

Regulators questioned Wison about “certain projects,” took records and froze bank accounts, the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange today. It wasn’t given reasons for seizing its accounts, although some have been unfrozen. Wison’s chairman and founder Hua Bangsong and a finance manager at a unit, Zhao Hongbin, continue to assist authorities with their probe, according to the statement.

“Hua is not contactable and he isn’t able to discharge his daily duties in relation to the group’s business operation and administration,” Wison said. “The company is still liaising with the regulatory authorities, assessing the impact of the investigations on its normal operation and taking actions to manage cash flow and risks.”

Wison said on Sept. 3 that Hua was helping in unspecified investigations, a day after its shares plunged 16 percent and were suspended from trading. China is investigating PetroChina’s former Chairman Jiang Jiemin and four senior executives for graft. The nation’s largest oil producer was Wison’s biggest customer before 2012.

PetroChina Contracts

Wison’s revenue from contracts with PetroChina was around 111 million yuan ($18.1 million), or 5.6 percent of total sales, in the first half of 2013, according to a statement on Sept. 13. Outstanding contracts with PetroChina are worth 204 million yuan, it said.

In its 2012 listing document, Wison said it had a nine-year business relationship with PetroChina. In the three years to 2011, its revenue from PetroChina and its subsidiaries amounted to 63 percent, 80 percent and 58 percent of sales, according to the document.

PetroChina shares fell 4.4 percent in Hong Kong, the most in two years, on August 28, after the four senior managers were removed. Former chairman Jiang was dismissed from his post as head of the state assets regulator and is under investigation, the official Xinhua News Agency said Sept. 2.

The PetroChina probes follow last month’s five-day trial of ousted Politburo member Bo Xilai on bribery, embezzlement and abuse-of-power charges. The new investigations highlight President Xi Jinping’s willingness to tackle graft, which he has said threatens the communist party’s 64-year grip on power. In July, a court gave former Railway Minister Liu Zhijun a suspended death sentence for abuse of power and receiving bribes.

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