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Ministry says fugitive's repatriation shows determination to fight corruption

By YANG ZEKUN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-11-16 08:55
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The repatriation from the United States of a corrupt former bank manager has shown the determination and clear position of the Chinese government in fighting corruption, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Three former managers of the Kaiping subbranch of the Bank of China in South China's Guangdong province fled the country in 2001 after embezzling and misappropriating public funds.

Thanks to the joint efforts of China and the US, Xu Guojun, one of the three, was repatriated from the US on Sunday, marking a major achievement in a 20-year effort to track down fugitives and recover stolen assets in the case, said Zhao Lijian, a ministry spokesman.

The two others involved in the case, Yu Zhendong and Xu Chaofan, were repatriated in 2004 and 2018, respectively.

The Chinese government firmly cracks down on corruption crimes, continues to pursue fugitives and recover stolen assets and will never allow any corruption to remain unpunished, Zhao said.

"China calls on the international community to uphold fairness and justice to combat corruption, remove obstacles and refrain from providing a safe haven for corruption-related fugitives and assets under any excuse," Zhao said.

According to the office in charge of fugitive repatriation and asset recovery under the central anti-corruption coordination group, more than 2 billion yuan ($313 million) in funds from the case has been recovered domestically and from abroad.

Since 1993, Xu Chaofan, the principal offender in the case, took advantage of his position as the head of the Kaiping subbranch to conduct foreign exchange transactions in the form of buying and selling on behalf of clients, then embezzled the bank funds.

Together with Yu and Xu Guojun, Xu Chaofan borrowed a large amount of money from the bank and transferred it to a Hong Kong-based company controlled by the three.

In 1994, the three got US green cards by arranging marriages and divorces for the purpose of gaining the permits so they could live permanently in the US.

In October 2001, the Guangdong Branch of BOC conducted a business inspection and found that Xu Chaofan had conspired with the other two, embezzling $485 million. The three then fled the country.

In November 2001, Interpol issued an international red notice to track them down. The Ministry of Justice made requests for judicial assistance to the US and Canada.

In 2002, Yu was arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of obtaining a visa by deception. He was repatriated to China in 2004 and was sentenced to 12 years in prison for corruption and embezzlement in March 2006.

In 2004, Xu Guojun and Xu Chaofan were arrested in the US and sentenced to 22 years and 25 years in prison there in 2009, respectively, for crimes including money laundering and passport and visa fraud.

Xu Chaofan was repatriated to China in July 2018 and was sentenced last month to 13 years in prison for corruption and embezzlement.

According to the National Supervisory Commission, the nation's top anti-corruption watchdog, China has concluded 169 extradition treaties, judicial assistance treaties and asset return and sharing agreements with 81 countries. It has also signed cooperation agreements on financial information exchange with 56 countries and regions, establishing an anti-corruption law enforcement cooperation network covering all continents and key countries.

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