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US aids hunt for fugitives

By Zhang Yan | China Daily | Updated: 2016-10-26 06:54

China and the United States will improve anti-corruption law enforcement cooperation to aid criminal investigations and the repatriation of fugitives, according to Chinese authorities.

Both sides will continue to "prioritize cooperation on repatriating fugitives suspected of economic crimes or illegal immigrants through charter flights", said a senior official from the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, who declined to reveal his name.

In addition, they will strengthen judicial cooperation to fight money laundering crimes and recover ill-gotten gains.

Both sides are in advanced negotiations to sign an agreement on sharing confiscated assets that corrupt Chinese officials have illegally transferred to the US.

In recent years, the US has become the most popular destination for corrupt Chinese officials to flee to due to a lack of bilateral extradition treaties and differences in laws.

Meanwhile, a large number of corrupt officials have transferred millions of yuan to foreign accounts either through money laundering or underground banks, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

During the G20 Leaders Summit in September, China and the US agreed to step up the anti-corruption campaign by refusing to offer "safe havens" for corrupt officials who remain at large in the US.

In April last year, Interpol issued red notices - international arrest warrants - for 100 Chinese fugitives. Since then, 35 have returned from more than 16 countries and regions to face charges. To date, 33 corrupt officials are still at large in the US, accounting for 51 percent of the remaining 65 fugitives who have fled overseas, according to the top anti-graft watchdog.

"It is a must to enhance law enforcement cooperation with the US, especially on conducting joint investigations, and identifying and confiscating illegal assets," said Li Wei, a lawyer at Beijing Lawyers Association.

According to the top anti-graft watchdog, during the China-US Joint Liaison Group on Law Enforcement Cooperation meeting, which will be held this month, judicial officers from both countries will share intelligence and discuss fugitive cases.

Moreover, China is promoting the establishment of an anti-corruption cooperative mechanism with the US, aimed at forcing fugitives to return from the US to face charges.


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