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Illegal assets of fugitives confiscated

By YANG ZEKUN and ZHANG YI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-12-10 10:54
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More than 1,100 people suspected of duty-related crimes returned this year

China brought back 1,114 fugitives wanted for duty-related crimes from January to November and recovered about 16 billion yuan ($2.5 billion) in illegal gains, according to the country's top anti-graft watchdogs.

Sixteen of the fugitives appeared on Interpol red notices.

China is becoming an active participant and contributor in global anti-corruption governance, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission said on Thursday, which was International Anti-Corruption Day.

"Taking property and fleeing the country has become a common trick to evade punishment for some corrupt officials in recent years," said Shi Weizhong, head of the third procuratorial office of the Supreme People's Procuratorate. "Confiscating the illegal gains that were transferred overseas by suspects or defendants can help recover losses of the country and related victims and cut off the suspects' financial sources."

The Criminal Procedure Law, revised in 2012 and 2018, improved the procedure for confiscation of illegal gains, providing a sound legal basis for hunting down fugitives and recovering assets.

The Supreme People's Court and the SPP also issued a document in January 2017 that clarified the scope of charges applicable to the confiscation of illegal gains, the standard of proof and the process of handling cases, he said.

The SPP has actively worked to confiscate illegal gains in cases of job-related crimes where suspects have fled abroad, that involved huge amounts of money or that caused strong public complaints, Shi said.

From January 2017 to this month, procuratorial organs accepted 93 cases of duty-related crimes involving 95 people who had fled abroad, remained unaccounted for or died before their cases were concluded in court, and who were also subject to confiscation of illegal gains, double the number from January 2013 to December 2017.

The SPP also worked with the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission to standardize procedures for jurisdiction, use of evidence, detention and transfer for prosecution in corruption cases.

Zhang Xijing, deputy head of the third procuratorial office, said the procedure for confiscation pays attention to protecting the rights of fugitives' close relatives and other interested parties.

"The legitimate rights and interests of close relatives and other interested parties of the suspects are fully protected to ensure that cases are handled objectively and impartially, including the right to be informed, to entrust litigation agents, to challenge the application for confiscation procedure, and the right to appeal," Zhang said.

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