07/22/2009, 00.00
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Investigation into NucTech corruption expands, the company formerly headed by Hu Haifeng

The son of President Hu Jintao was at the head of the company until last year. According to the indictment, the company gave money to get contracts. China blacks out websites which first reported the news.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Sources in Namibian press indicate possible new arrests in corruption investigations involving the Chinese company NucTech, a leader in the airport security technology sector, where Hu Haifeng, eldest son of Chinese President Hu Jintao, was a company manager. Meanwhile Beijing yesterday shut down websites that first reported the news.

In 2008 NucTech obtained a contract for 55.3 million dollars to install scanner controls. The sum was for the most part covered by loans provided by China, given on the occasion of the visit of President Hu in 2007, on the specific condition that a Chinese company be contracted to provide the technology. In February 2009, Namibia paid approximately 12.8 million to NucTech. Much of the funds were immediately transferred to the company Teko Trading,  a company owned by Yang Fan and two Namibian nationals, to pay for "consulting". The three will appear today before judges to plea for release on bail. Nelius Becker, head of the inquiry committee, speaks of "corruption" and said that the sums were paid to obtain the contract, with the involvement of public officials.

The three were arrested: it seems they squandered most of this sum in spending on luxuries, but the suspicion is that the money was pocketed by local politicians.

Hu Haifeng was chairman of NucTech until 2008, when he became manager of Tsingua Holdings, which controls NucTech and over 20 other companies.

NucTech, created in 1997 by Tsinghua University in Beijing, where both the President Hu Jintao and his son  studied, in a few years became one of the largest global companies in the sector. It covers almost the entire Chinese market: in 2006 it was commissioned to install new scanners for the control of hazardous liquids, in all 147 airports in China. In recent months it has become the focus for repeated allegations of unfair competition in the European Union, but also for corruption and abuse of office in the Philippines. In South Africa press sources say that there are investigations of corruption underway regarding a contract obtained by the Company for the sale of scanners amounting to 380 million.

There has been no official comment from NucTech, although the scandals emerged long ago. Yesterday the popular websites, Sina and Netease reported the news of the investigations in Namibia. For hours the sites were blacked out. They were once again visible at night, after the article had been removed. Yesterday, however, several sites were blocked, such as Digue and Zousa, in addition to Facebook and Twitter which have been inaccessible for weeks. Experts say that Beijing is trying to perfect new ways to control these sites and that, meanwhile, they prefer to make them unusable.


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