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CNPC denies housing purchase scandal
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China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the parent of Asia's largest oil and gas company PetroChina, has denied involvement in a housing purchase scandal.

China Central Television revealed that about 1,000 apartments in eight apartment blocks in downtown Beijing had been bought by senior CNPC employees at a discounted price of 9,476 yuan per square meter, less than half the price of similar properties in the area.

But CNPC yesterday issued a statement to CCTV claiming that the 2 billion yuan (US$292 million) deal had been a group purchase by its employees, with the price and deal agreed years ago. The company had not offered any subsidies to its employees to help them buy the apartments, CNPC said.

Employees had acted as individuals and CNPC had not allocated apartments to its employees for 10 years, CCTV quoted the company as saying.

CNPC also explained that the purchase price had been agreed in 2005 before the apartments were built, after negotiations between the developer of Sun Star City in Beijing's Chaoyang District and China Petroleum Huayou Beijing Service Corporation, the logistics subsidiary of CNPC's Beijing headquarters.

According to CNPC's Website, Huayou was the buyer of the third phase of Sun Star City at Chaoyang's Siyuanqiao in March.

The district is home to many foreign embassies and multinational corporations.

(Shanghai Daily August 31, 2009)

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