Corruption to be included in money laundering law
China's "money laundering law" drafting work group has decided to include corruption and economic crimes in the law, in a bid to improve the country's legal system.
"Though China has conducted preliminary anti-money laundering cooperation among several central departments like the Bank of China, Ministry of Public Security and State Administration of Foreign Exchange, it is still lacking a systematic mechanism," said Yu Guangyuan, director of the lawmaking work group.
According to the existing Criminal Law, only four major crimes fall into the category of money laundering: drug trafficking, smuggling, terrorism and underworld activities. However, this definition is considered too limited to control today's numerous other money laundering crimes.
Shao Shaping, a professor with the prestigious People's University of China in Beijing, said the laundering of money gained through corruption has become increasingly more common overrecent years.
According to Prof. Shao, in the past three years, China has had at least 600 billion yuan (US$73 billion) washed to other countries, of which over 500 billion yuan (US$60 billion) was gained through corruption.
A case in point was Lai Changxing, one of China's most wanted fugitives currently in custody in Canada, whose Yuan Hua group is said to have smuggled 6 billion US dollars in luxury goods, cars, oil and raw materials into China during the early 1990s via the port city of Xiamen, in east China's Fujian province.
Lai hired people to take cash from smuggling activities on the Chinese mainland and deposit the money into the bank accounts of money changers in Hong Kong. The funds would then be cleansed by being transferred into the bank accounts of people and various companies.
In March of 2004, China started the money laundering lawmaking process at the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress, the top Chinese legislature, and in May, the work group held the "Money laundering lawmaking seminar" in Beijing, to give an introduction of the country's money laundering situation to theconcerned government departments.
"China's day-to-day development and economic globalization have also nursed some illegal operations including illegal tax evasion, corruption or financial deceptions, which urgently calls for a corresponding law to regulate," said Yu.
"It is an international trend to include such deeds as serious money laundering crimes," he added.