Re­cov­ery of fugi­tives’ il­le­gal as­sets is fo­cus of new ini­tia­tive

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHANG YAN Zhangyan1@chi­nadaily.com.cn

In a new fo­cus in the hunt for cor­rupt of­fi­cials who have fled over­seas, po­lice will not only bring fugi­tives back to China to face jus­tice, but will also em­pha­size re­cov­er­ing their ill-got­ten as­sets, the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity said. While the pre­vi­ous pri­or­ity was col­lect­ing ev­i­dence in over­seas man­hunts, the re­cov­ery of as­sets ac­quired il­le­gally in China will be a new anti-cor­rup­tion ini­tia­tive in the com­ing months, said a se­nior of­fi­cial at the min­istry who re­quested anonymity. As part of the new ini­tia­tive, pub­lic se­cu­rity author­i­ties will work closely with Peo­ple’s Bank of China, par­tic­u­larly the divi­sion that cracks down on money laun­der­ing, the of­fi­cial said. In ad­di­tion, author­i­ties will en­hance com­mu­ni­ca­tion and con­duct joint in­ves­ti­ga­tions with other coun­tries on a case-by-case ba­sis in an at­tempt to repa­tri­ate more cor­rupt of­fi­cials so they can stand trial. They also will share in­tel­li­gence with their coun­ter­parts in those coun­tries to lo­cate, freeze and re­cover the ill-got­ten as­sets, he said last week. In re­cent years, the United States, Canada, Australia and Sin­ga­pore have be­come pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions for cor­rupt Chi­nese of­fi­cials, due to a lack of bi­lat­eral ex­tra­di­tion treaties and dif­fer­ences in laws, the min­istry has said. A large num­ber of cor­rupt of­fi­cials have trans­ferred bil­lions of yuan in il­le­gal funds to their for­eign ac­counts, ei­ther through money laun­der­ing or un­der­ground banks, the min­istry said. As part of op­er­a­tion “Fox Hunt 2016”, which be­gan in April, 409 fugi­tives have been re­turned from 61 coun­tries and re­gions, it said. Thir­tyeight former of­fi­cials charged with cor­rup­tion were among those ar­rested. Mean­while, Chi­nese po­lice have ex­tra­dited a fugi­tive sur­named Chen from France, the first such ac­tion there since an ex­tra­di­tion treaty be­tween the two coun­tries took ef­fect last year. Chen, who is charged with il­le­gal ac­qui­si­tion of pub­lic funds worth more than 20 mil­lion yuan ($3 mil­lion), was ex­tra­dited to China on Monday after spend­ing three years on the run in France. Ac­cord­ing to the min­istry, more than 30 teams of law en­force­ment of­fi­cers have been sent to cap­ture fugi­tives in such coun­tries as Mada­gas­car, Thai­land, Peru, the Philip­pines, Ecuador, the Repub­lic of Korea, Cam­bo­dia and Spain. Sev­eral more fugi­tives will be ex­tra­dited from Europe and South Amer­ica in the near fu­ture, said the anony­mous of­fi­cial at the min­istry.

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