France to as­sist hunt for cor­rupt of­fi­cials

Paris of­fers to con­fis­cate ill-got­ten Chi­nese as­sets sent to French banks

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YAN in Beijing zhangyan1@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The French gov­ern­ment will as­sist the Chi­nese ju­di­ciary by con­fis­cat­ing the il­le­gal as­sets many cor­rupt of­fi­cials have trans­ferred to France, a se­nior of­fi­cial from the French Min­istry of Jus­tice has said.

France and China will share the seized funds.

Robert Gelli, di­rec­tor of the Crim­i­nal Af­fairs Depart­ment of the French Min­istry of Jus­tice, said that in the fol­low­ing weeks the min­istry will strengthen co­op­er­a­tion with its Chi­nese coun­ter­parts to track down cor­rupt Chi­nese of­fi­cials and un­cover their trans­ferred funds

“We will try to lo­cate the ill­got­ten funds that Chi­nese cor­rupt of­fi­cials sent to France and take im­me­di­ate ac­tions to freeze them, such as houses, cars and bank sav­ings and other in­vest­ments,” Gelli said

“In ad­di­tion, for each in­di­vid­ual case, we will ne­go­ti­ate with our Chi­nese coun­ter­parts to share the seized funds in a proper pro­por­tion,” he said

In re­cent years, a num­ber of eco­nomic fugi­tives, in­clud­ing many cor­rupt of­fi­cials, have fled to the United Sates, Canada, Aus­tralia and Euro­pean coun­tries such as the Nether­lands and France, to avoid Chi­nese ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties.

“Most are gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, ex­ec­u­tives or se­nior man­agers in State-owned com­pa­nies

We will try to lo­cate the ill-got­ten funds that Chi­nese cor­rupt of­fi­cials sent to France and take im­me­di­ate ac­tions to freeze them, such as houses, cars and bank sav­ings and other in­vest­ments.” ROBERT GELLI DI­REC­TOR OF THE CRIM­I­NAL AF­FAIRS DEPART­MENT OF THE FRENCH MIN­ISTRY OF JUS­TICE

who are ac­cused of cor­rup­tion, ac­cept­ing bribes or em­bez­zle­ment,” said Zhang Xiaom­ing, deputy di­rec­tor of the Ju­di­cial As­sis­tance and For­eign Af­fairs Depart­ment of the Min­istry of Jus­tice

Ce­line Guillet, a se­nior of­fi­cial from the Crim­i­nal Af­fairs Depart­ment of the French Min­istry of Jus­tice, said that although a Sino-French bi­lat­eral ex­tra­di­tion treaty is still wait­ing for ap­proval by the French Par­lia­ment, the two sides will en­hance ju­di­cial co­op­er­a­tion to nab fugi­tives and un­cover their il­le­gal as­sets in ac­cor­dance with mu­tual le­gal as­sis­tance in crim­i­nal mat­ters and other rec­i­proc­ity reg­u­la­tions

Huang Feng, a law pro­fes­sor at Beijing Nor­mal Univer­sity who spe­cial­izes in ex­tra­di­tion is­sues, said the con­fis­ca­tion and shar­ing of seized as­sets be­tween China and other coun­tries is con­sis­tent with in­ter­na­tional prac­tice.

For ex­am­ple, the ju­di­ciary in the US, Ja­pan and Sin­ga­pore have agree­ments with other coun­tries to share seized ill-got­ten funds and China will sign a for­mal agree­ment with Canada to re­turn and share seized as­sets, he said.

Last month, China and Aus­tralia agreed to en­hance ju­di­cial co­op­er­a­tion on ex­tra­di­tion of cor­rupt of­fi­cials, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity.

Aus­tralian ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties have a pri­or­ity list of 100 sus­pected Chi­nese eco­nomic fugi­tives and they will con­duct joint op­er­a­tions within weeks, ac­cord­ing to the Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald.

By the end of Au­gust, China had signed 51 mu­tual le­gal as­sis­tance agree­ments for crim­i­nal mat­ters and 39 bi­lat­eral ex­tra­di­tion treaties, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Jus­tice.

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