A county government has announced an investigation into the sale of a 200 million yuan ($32 million) State-owned coal mine for less than one-five hundredth of its value to the brother-in-law of a local official in Shanxi Province.
The investigation by the Baode county government comes five years after the sale, and was announced last Thursday after the details were exposed by an investigative report published in the Legal Weekly last week.
The Balougou coal mine was sold for 375,000 yuan in November 2007 by the local Economic and Trade Bureau to Zhang Huaibao, brother-in-law of Li Xinsheng, who once served as the head of the local mine bureau and the local Administration of Work Safety, and two other buyers. Xi was assigned as vice director of the Xinzhou Coal Industry Bureau in Shanxi in 2010.
A woman who once worked at the mine said that Zhang and the other two buyers were the major shareholders of the mine before the auction, with a 70 percent stake. The miner asked that her name be withheld.
The price of the mine skyrocketed to 260 million yuan when Zhang resold the mine two years later to Shenda Jinbao Coal Corporation.
"The mine is worth over 300 million yuan nowadays," Jiang Shuofu, legal representative of Shenda Jinbao Coal Corporation, told the Legal Weekly.
At the time, the transactions sparked speculation about corruption among many coal miners.
However, several miners' efforts to report the incident were completely ignored by local authorities, the anonymous miner told the Global Times on Friday.
Chen Qiang, director of the publicity department of Baode county government, told the Global Times on Friday that the government had not received any report or discovered anything unusual in the two transactions - until the Legal Weekly published its report.
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