Allegations of corruption at China Mobile have flared up again, triggering a fresh flurry of investigations.
According to media reports, five China Mobile managers were called in for questioning last week, including a high-level executive from the Tianjin branch of the state-owned telecoms giant.
One of the detainees, a mid-level manager at China Mobile’s Guangdong arm, was later released, but the other four are thought to remain in police custody. All five remain unidentified.
The firm is no stranger to corruption scandals, with a dozen of its employees having been investigated since the launch in 2009 of a probe into former vice chairman Zhang Chunjiang.
Zhang ultimately got a suspended death sentence for taking more than $1.2 million in bribes.
Media sources suggest China Mobile isn’t the only state-owned titan being called to account by regulators. There are unconfirmed reports that the State Council has singled out a handful of major public enterprises for “waste and extravagance, nepotism, and mismanagement.”
Hong Kong media claim the State Council blacklist included China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), Sinopec Group, and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) in addition to China Mobile and its telecommunications peer China Telecom.
According to the Economic Observer, employee salaries for 2012 outstripped profits by a total of $160 billion at 208 companies controlled by centrally managed SOEs.
Source: Shenzhen News (深圳新闻网), Tencent (腾讯网)
A version of this post appeared in the China Compliance Digest. For a limited time, subscribers of the China Compliance Digest will receive the China Anti-Corruption Handbook ($750 value) and an individual ethiXbase membership ($695 value) at no extra charge. Details are here.