Qiao Hong, former general manager of Shanghai-listed Kweichow
Moutai Co. Ltd, maker of Maotai drink- the famous Chinese liquor
known as "baijiu" - is under investigation for allegedly taking
bribes, local authorities confirmed Friday.
The decision to probe Qiao was made on Friday by the Standing
Committee of the People's Congress of southwest China's Guizhou Province, the local legislative body,
said a spokesman with the Communist Party of China (CPC) Guizhou
Provincial Commission for Discipline
Qiao is suspected of taking bribes from sponsors during the 2002
World Cup in the Republic of Korea, the spokesman told Xinhua. Qiao
organized a trip to the World Cup for outstanding salespeople and
other excellent company employees.
No specific monetary figures were cited.
Qiao, 54, who previously served as deputy director of the
Guizhou Provincial Bureau of Light Industry, was appointed general
manager of Maotai in August 2000.
Qiao left the company to take up a position as deputy director
of the Guizhou Provincial Committee of State Assets Administration
on May 11, and has been cooperating with authorities to investigate
his problems since early May, the spokesman said.
"Local authorities transferred Qiao in order to reduce the
impact on the listed company during the investigation," he
"Government authorities are naturally concerned about Maotai and
the stock market, and wish to protect the interests of stock
investors," he said.
Trading in Maotai shares was suspended unexpectedly on the
Shanghai Stock Exchange on May 10, amid speculations that Qiao had
been placed under investigation. The company's share price fell by
4.7 percent on May 9, a day before the suspension.
Trading resumed at 10:30 AM on May 14 -- an hour later than
usual, reopening at 93.6 yuan (US$12.08) and reaching a high of 100
yuan (US$12.94), a 6.41 percent rise. The share price has remained
stable since then.
The share price of Maotai dropped by 0.6 percent on Friday to
98.43 yuan (US$12.3).
A spokesman with the company said Friday that Maotai is a
well-managed, mature state-owned company and its business will not
be affected by such factors as job changes among senior
"The company is operating and producing normally," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency May 19, 2007)