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Indonesian police say Interpol searching for three Sinopec execs

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Interpol has issued red notices, the closest to an international arrest warrant, for three Chinese executives suspected of fraud, according to Indonesian police.

The alleged fraud is said to be linked to a $800 million Sinopec oil terminal development in the southeast Asian country.

China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, or Sinopec, is the second major Chinese state oil firm in less than three years to find staff facing allegations of corruption in Indonesia.

National Police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said: “The three red notices have been published for those wanted people.”

Indonesian authorities filed a request for Interpol assistance last month regarding the three executives.

They are said to be suspects in the alleged embezzlement of an undisclosed sum of money from the West Point Terminal project, Amar said.

He identified the three as West Point Terminal finance director Zhang Jun, chief executive Feng Zhigang and chairman Ye Zhijun.

A Sinopec spokesman declined to comment.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she had seen reports about the red notices, but was not aware of specifics.

Interpol’s General Secretariat press office said in an emailed response to questions on the matter that it did not “comment on specific cases or individuals except in special circumstances”.

A red notice is Interpol’s highest alert and is a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition. It is not an international arrest warrant as Interpol cannot compel any member country to arrest an individual who is the subject of a red notice.

Indonesia, an archipelago of some 250 million people rich in resources, is routinely ranked by watchdog Transparency International as one of the world’s most corrupt countries.

Former Indonesian energy minister Jero Wacik is serving an eight-year prison term for involvement in extortion and kickbacks worth about $840,000.

Defrizal Djamaris, a lawyer representing West Point Terminal’s 5-percent stakeholder, PT Mas Capital Trust (MCT), said MCT reported suspicions of fraud on the project to local police in 2015.

The red notices were issued because the three executives had left the country and “not cooperated” with local police investigations, Djamaris said. The police’s Amar did not confirm this.

The West Point Terminal was touted to be Southeast Asia’s largest and was initially expected to be operational by mid-2016, but has faced a series of setbacks including a lawsuit filed by Indonesian shareholders in November.

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