Wison Engineering Says Chairman Arrested for ‘Bribery Activity’

Wison Engineering Services Co., a Chinese builder of refineries that lost contact with its Chairman Hua Bangsong in September, said March 7 he had been arrested for “alleged bribery activity.”

Wison said in September Hua was assisting Chinese authorities in an unspecified investigation and that the government had frozen some of its accounts and taken records.

“The board learned on March 6, 2014, from a family member of Hua Bangsong that Hua has been arrested by the PRC public security authority over alleged bribery activity,” the company said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange last week, referring to the People’s Republic of China. “The board has not been informed of any detail of the allegation.”

Wison’s Hong Kong-listed shares have been suspended from trading since Sept. 2, when the company said Hua was assisting investigators. It denied reports that it offered “unlawful advantages” on a contract with PetroChina Co. for a project in Sichuan province and said the author of the report has been arrested for “rumour-mongering,” according to the March 7 statement.

The company also refuted claims that Hua was owned shares in Wison on behalf of a Zhou Bin. The statement didn’t identify Zhou and no one was available to answer questions from the media, according to a woman who would only give her name as Rita and answered the phone at the company’s Shanghai headquarters. An e-mail to Wison’s media inquiries address went unanswered.

The South China Morning Post in January reported that Zhou Bin is the eldest son of Zhou Yongkang, China’s former security chief, and he has been detained since December. Hua is Wison’s single largest shareholder and holds about 78 percent of the company, according to last week’s statement.

Wison said it expects to record a “significant loss” for 2013 because of increased employee-benefit costs, foreign-exchange losses related to its Hong Kong initial public offering and undefined problems with new orders and projects.

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