Pros­e­cu­tors take aim at cor­rupt fugi­tives find­ing refuge over­seas

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YAN in Beijing zhangyan1@chi­

Pros­e­cu­tors in China will strengthen in­tel­li­gence shar­ing and joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion co­op­er­a­tion with the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Pros­e­cu­tors to hunt down cor­rupt Chi­nese fugi­tives who re­main at large abroad, a se­nior of­fi­cial from the Supreme Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate said on Wed­nes­day.

“We are work­ing closely with our coun­ter­parts from anti-cor­rup­tion de­part­ments of IAP mem­bers to ex­pand law en­force­ment co­op­er­a­tion and im­prove the ca­pa­bil­i­ties and ef­fec­tive­ness of agen­cies to catch the fugi­tives and con­fis­cate their il­licit as­sets,” Procu­ra­tor-Gen­eral Cao Jian­ming told China Daily in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view.

Fig­ures pro­vided by the Supreme Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate show that since Oc­to­ber 2014, when prose­cut­ing de­part­ments in China launched the spe­cial ac­tion to cap­ture such fugi­tives and re­cover their il­le­gal funds, 174 cor­rupt of­fi­cials have re­turned to face trial, with 1.9 bil­lion yuan ($291 mil­lion) in il­le­gal funds con­fis­cated with the ju­di­cial as­sis­tance of for­eign agen­cies.

Cao said they will start pro­ce­dures to re­cover ill-got­ten funds from sus­pects who have es­caped over­seas. “We will take mea­sures to col­lect solid ev­i­dence and ini­ti­ate in a timely man­ner the re­cov­ery pro­ce­dure to cut off the fugi­tives’ eco­nomic sup­port.”

In re­cent years, a large num­ber of cor­rupt Chi­nese of­fi­cials and di­rec­tors from State-owned com­pa­nies have es­caped to some Western coun­tries, such as the United States and Canada, to avoid pun­ish­ment through a lack of bi­lat­eral ex­tra­di­tion treaties or dif­fer­ences in the le­gal sys­tems, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity.

More­over, they have trans­ferred hun­dreds of mil­lions of yuan in il­le­gal as­sets to for­eign ac­counts through money laun­der­ing and un­der­ground banks, it said. Ac­cord­ing to China’s top anti-graft watch­dog, the Cen­tral Com­mis­sion for Dis­ci­pline In­spec­tion, more than 900 cor­rupt fugi­tives are still abroad, many of them hid­ing in Western coun­tries.

Cao said of­fi­cials have taken ef­fec­tive steps with Western law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties, and there have been some achievements in the pur­suit of fugi­tives and the re­turn of their il­le­gal gains.

He said Chi­nese pros­e­cu­tors made full use of con­ven­tions and treaties to ask for­eign pros­e­cu­tors to in­quire and freeze the fugi­tives’ il­licit as­sets sent

abroad, as well as to repa­tri­ate the sus­pects.

More­over, they have worked closely with in­ter­na­tional an­ti­money-laun­der­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions to mon­i­tor and trace the sus­pi­cious over­seas re­mit­tances and pro­vide in­tel­li­gence and ev­i­dence to ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Al­though progress has been made, more law en­force­ment co­op­er­a­tion is still needed to solve the prob­lem,” Cao said.

He said they will ex­pand law en­force­ment co­op­er­a­tion chan­nels with for­eign gov­ern­ments to fight cross-bor­der cor­rup­tion crimes while en­hanc­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion and con­duct­ing joint in­ves­ti­ga­tions on some ma­jor and in­di­vid­ual cases.

“Apart from en­hanc­ing ju­di­cial co­op­er­a­tion, the most im­por­tant is­sue is to take mea­sures to pre­vent the cor­rupt of­fi­cials from flee­ing, such as tight­en­ing the man­age­ment of of­fi­cials’ pass­ports or bor­der con­trol, which serves as a de­ter­rent,” said Huang Feng, a law pro­fes­sor at Beijing Nor­mal Univer­sity.

To date, the Supreme Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate said it has signed more than 130 co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments or mem­o­ran­dums of un­der­stand­ing with au­thor­i­ties from 98 coun­tries. Be­tween 2012 to 2017, it has han­dled 600 in­ter­na­tional crim­i­nal ju­di­cial as­sis­tance cases, it said.

Cao Jian­ming, procu­ra­tor­gen­eral at the Supreme Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate

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