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State firm's head sacked over 37,517 yuan banquet


08:24, February 07, 2013

The head of a state-owned enterprise in south China has been suspended for his part in a luxury banquet last month that flouted the country's frugality campaign.

Zhou Shaoqiang, general manager of Zhuhai Financial Investment Holdings Co Ltd, was ordered on Tuesday to undertake self-reflection over public expenditures that exceeded standards, said the Communist Party of China's discipline authorities in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province.

A banquet that Zhou and 16 others had in a local restaurant on January 4 cost 37,517 yuan (US$5, 974), far more than the fake bill of 4,689 yuan, which the restaurant produced at Zhou's direction.

The high expenditure "seriously violated regulations at central, provincial and municipal levels and caused an extremely bad social impact," authorities said.

With the consumption of 12 bottles of expensive red wine, the extravagant dinner was first uncovered on the Internet and sparked criticism among netizens as the country has recently launched a frugality campaign.

Zhou denied that participants had drunk 12 bottles of red wine, saying only six bottles were consumed and the other six were empty ones for them to learn red wine knowledge.

An investigation by the Zhuhai state-owned assets supervision authorities said the bill was just 4,689 yuan. Netizens expressed doubts about the "frugal" dinner.

Further checks showed 12 bottles consumed at a cost of 23,706 yuan in total.

The part of the bill exceeding consumption standards will be paid by the diners themselves, officials said.

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