Break­through agree­ment sig­nals harder stance

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YAN

The bi­lat­eral treaty signed by China and Canada to fa­cil­i­tate the re­cov­ery of as­sets salted away over­seas by cor­rupt of­fi­cials or busi­ness­peo­ple is the first of its kind be­tween­the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic and a Western coun­try, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs.

“The agree­ment pro­vides a new le­gal ba­sis for the re­turn of as­sets il­le­gally sent to ei­ther coun­try and opens a new chan­nel for China’s co­op­er­a­tion with other na­tions,” said SunAng, a se­nior of­fi­cial at the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs.

Ac­cord­ing to Sun, if a court rules that il­le­gally trans­ferred funds or as­sets be­long to a spe­cific per­son or en­ter­prise within their own coun­try, the re­cip­i­ent coun­try will re­turn them in ac­cor­dance with the law.

If the courts are un­able to iden­tify the right­ful own­ers, ju­di­cial of­fi­cers will con­fis­cate the as­sets and de­ter­mine the pro­por­tion that should be shared with the other coun­try.

LeiMing, a se­nior of­fi­cial at the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity’s eco­nomic crimes in­ves­ti­ga­tion depart­ment, said the agree­ment re­flects “the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment’s resolute de­ter­mi­na­tion to re­cover il­le­gal funds and sends a strong sig­nal that other coun­tries will never be safe havens for the fugi­tives’ crim­i­nal earn­ings”.

“Fugi­tives should never be­lieve that it is safe to place their ill-got­ten gains over­seas, and if they in­sist on de­fy­ing the law, they will even­tu­ally re­ceive se­vere pun­ish­ments and their il­le­gal as­sets will be con­fis­cated,” he said.

In re­cent years, a large num­ber of cor­rupt of­fi­cials have fled China and headed for pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions, in­clud­ing the United States and Canada, to avoid pun­ish­ment, while il­le­gally trans­fer­ring bil­lions of yuan to over­seas bank ac­counts via money laun­der­ing chan­nels and un­der­ground banks.

In April last year, In­ter­pol is­sued red no­tices — in­ter­na­tional ar­rest war­rants — to find the top 100 cor­rupt Chi­nese of­fi­cials over­seas and con­fis­cate their as­sets. Since then, 35 have re­turned to face trial, in­clud­ing eight from Canada. How­ever, only a small por­tion of the il­le­gally trans­ferred funds has been re­cov­ered.

Ac­cord­ing to theMin­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, China will im­prove co­op­er­a­tion on law en­force­ment with the rel­e­vant coun­tries, and sign sim­i­lar bi­lat­eral agree­ments with more Western coun­tries, in­clud­ing the US, France and Aus­tralia, to re­cover and share mis­ap­pro­pri­ated as­sets.

“No mat­ter where they go and how much they have trans­ferred in ill-got­ten gains, we will use ev­ery means to bring them back,” Sun said.

The agree­ment pro­vides a new le­gal ba­sis for the re­turn of as­sets il­le­gally sent to ei­ther coun­try ...” a se­nior of­fi­cial at the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs

Sun Ang,

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