‘Solid ev­i­dence’ set to break fugi­tive grid­lock

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

Law en­force­ment of­fi­cers are ex­pect­ing to bring more fugi­tive cor­rup­tion sus­pects to trial from their hide­outs in the United States, now that au­thor­i­ties are offering US coun­ter­parts “more solid ev­i­dence”, a se­nior Min­istry of Jus­tice of­fi­cial said.

Such ev­i­dence, pre­pared to bet­ter meet the re­quire­ments of the US jus­tice sys­tem, is ex­pected to break the grid­lock of tech­ni­cal­i­ties that has been the big­gest ob­sta­cle to law en­force­ment co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries, said Zhang Xiaoming, deputy di­rec­tor­gen­eral of the min­istry’s Ju­di­cial As­sis­tance and For­eign Af­fairs Depart­ment.

Zhang told China Daily that, apart from in­for­ma­tion about the fugi­tives’ likely where­abouts, Chi­nese law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties will pro­vide through le­gal chan­nels a sound re­port about the sus­pects’ il­licit ac­tiv­i­ties back home and the amount of funds they might have trans­ferred abroad, to form a “com­plete chain of ev­i­dence”.

The in­for­ma­tion would in­clude proof of the fugi­tives’ money laun­der­ing from China and ev­i­dence of forgery of pa­pers used in ap­ply­ing for US res­i­den­tial sta­tus.

In re­cent years, due to lack of ex­tra­di­tion treaties and dis­par­i­ties be­tween le­gal sys­tems, a num­ber of Chi­nese cor­rupt of­fi­cials fled to for­eign coun­tries with their ill-got­ten money, the most likely des­ti­na­tions be­ing the US, Canada and New Zealand, jus­tice of­fi­cials said.

US jus­tice au­thor­i­ties have said that the US doesn’t want to be a haven for cor­rupt Chi­nese of­fi­cials, and that they ex­pect more ev­i­dence from China be­fore they can as­sist it in nab­bing the fugi­tives and con­fis­cat­ing their as­sets.

Zhang said Chi­nese jus­tice de­part­ments are will­ing to work with their US coun­ter­parts by offering high­qual­ity ev­i­dence.

From 2004 to last year, only two Chi­nese cor­rup­tion fugi­tives were repa­tri­ated from the US. Since last year, how­ever, the US has be­come more re­spon­sive to Chi­nese re­quests in some cor­rup­tion cases.

But there is still room for im­prove­ment in the co­op­er­a­tion, Zhang said, such as China shar­ing more thor­ough ev­i­dence with the US.

“It’s more than nec­es­sary to es­tab­lish a pro­fes­sional law en­force­ment team that can bet­ter understand US laws and is pro­fi­cient at speak­ing English and ap­ply­ing the laws and in­ter­na­tional laws,” Zhang said.

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