Chinese authorities are in talks with their counterparts in the United States and Australia to track down assets illegally taken out of China by corrupt officials.
China has vowed to pursue a search, dubbed Operation “Fox Hunt”, beyond its borders for corrupt officials and business executives, and their assets.
But Western countries have balked at signing extradition deals with China, partly out of concern about the integrity of its judicial system and treatment of prisoners, Reuters reported. Rights groups say Chinese authorities use torture and the death penalty is common in corruption cases.
According to China Daily, the People’s Bank of China is in talks with the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network about signing an agreement targeting ill-gotten assets held in the US.
China is set to finalize a similar deal with Canada, Chinese state media reported earlier this month.
The central bank also aims to sign a deal with Australia, the state-run newspaper said, citing Zhang Xiaoming, deputy head of the Finance Ministry’s legal assistance and foreign affairs department.
“After the agreements are made, China will share intelligence with the US and Australia, which will also offer information to their enforcement agencies to conduct further investigations,” Zhang told the newspaper.
“Once law enforcement officers in the US and Australia identify illegal funds, they will immediately initiate judicial procedures to freeze and confiscate those criminal proceeds in their countries.”
The US, Canada and Australia are popular locations for corrupt officials to transfer their assets, the paper added.
But legal problems have prevented China from getting these assets back, Zhang said.
“Although the US Federal Bureau of Investigation or Australian police have traced the assets and collected enough evidence to identify them as ill-gotten gains, they are unable to take immediate measures to freeze and confiscate them due to the lack of asset restraining orders from the Chinese courts.”
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