Forfeiture of assets valued at $31m praised
The forfeiture of assets worth $31 million from a Chinese-born economic crime fugitive in New Zealand is a primary achievement in cooperation between police in the two countries, Chinese officials said on Wednesday.
Beijing will make further efforts to bring the suspect back to China, the officials added.
The New Zealand High Court had approved the end of a money laundering investigation into Yan Yongming, a former Chinese pharmaceutical executive, and ordered assets totaling NZ$43 million ($31 million) to be forfeited, New Zealand Police said in a statement on Tuesday.
“This is the single largest forfeiture that has occurred in New Zealand to date and is the first that relates to crimes alleged to have occurred in China,” the statement said.
Yan, who is now a New Zealand citizen under the name of William Yan, is the former chairman of Tonghua Jinma Pharmaceutical Group in Jilin. He fled to New Zealand in November 2001 after being accused of embezzlement.
In 2005, Interpol issued a red notice on Yan, and last year China placed him fifth on its 100-most-wanted fugitive list.
Lu Kang, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Wednesday: “Chinese police have been cooperating closely with their New Zealand counterparts in hunting Yan and confiscating his illegal gains in recent years. Forfeiture of his fortune is a primary achievement.”
The settlement follows a complex three-year investigation into Yan that focused on laundering large sums of funds reportedly amassed from a series of frauds allegedly perpetrated in China between 1999 and 2001, the New Zealand Police statement said.
Police said they would end the investigation and release Yan’s seized property once he handed the money over. The recovered money will be shared between the New Zealand and Chinese governments, the statement added.
Contact the writers at caoyin@ chinadaily.com.cn