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4,000 corrupt officials fled with US$50b
Updated: 2004-08-18 15:26

Researchers for the Ministry of Commerce estimate that about 4,000 corrupt officials who have fled China in the past two decades transferred US$50 billion out of the country.

Many of the big cases involved dirty money being sent to overseas destinations through offshore finance centers.

After being presented with the report, Premier Wen Jiabao ordered finance regulators to develop ways to deal with the problem, reported Shenzhen Daily on August 17, citing the Monday edition of Beijing's Evening Legal News as the source.

Dr. Mei Xinyu, lead writer of the report, told the newspaper that corrupt officials and some private firms were using companies registered in offshore finance centers, such as the British Virgin Islands and the Bahamas, to transfer capital and illicit gains out of China illegally.

The researchers estimate that Chinese companies and individuals have registered tens of thousands of firms in such offshore finance centers.

China has the world's fourth most serious problem with capital flight, and the annual figure has been rising at half the speed of its foreign debt growth since 1985, reported Mei.

The authorities are planning to set up a joint task force to deal with capital flight, he said.

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