Sinopec, PetroChina and the China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) are tied to networks of shell companies around the world, a new report.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reviewed leaked financial records from the British Virgin Islands that show dozens of shell companies tied to the three oil giants but not disclosed by the companies.

China blocked the ICIJ website Tuesday in response to the reporting that implicates some of China’s leaders.

Records from the British Virgin Islands, Cook Islands, and other tax havens from 1995 and 2008 were included in the report.

“One executive, Zhang Bowen, is listed in the ICIJ data as the only director and shareholder of Adept Act Enterprises Limited, active from 2006 to 2008. Last month, Zhang took over as chairman of Kunlun Energy, a subsidiary of CNPC, the Hong Kong-listed parent company of PetroChina,” the Guardian said.

“The chief executive of CNOOC, Yang Hua, was similarly listed as the only director and shareholder of a BVI entity called Garland International Trading Company Limited. His colleague, Fang Zhi, vice-president of CNOOC International, was the director and shareholder of Xin Yue Lianping Company Limited and Xin Yue (BVI) Company Limited,” according to the Guardian, which has also been blocked in China because of the reporting.

The report said no evidence uncovered by the ICIJ showed the offshore companies were used by the oil companies or their executives to engage in illegal conduct, “but the secrecy of the offshore world makes their actual purpose unclear.”

China’s oil and gas industry has been hit by scandal.

In 2009, the former chairman of Sinopec  was given a suspended death sentence for taking bribes of more than $28m.

Five executives from PetroChina have been fired in an ongoing probe linked to some of China’s top politicians.


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