For­fei­ture of as­sets val­ued at $31m praised

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By CAO YIN and ZHANG YAN in Bei­jing

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@ chi­

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