A fugitive Chinese official and his former wife have been indicted in the United States on immigration fraud and money laundering charges.
Qiao Jianjun, the former director of a large grain storage facility in central China, and his ex-wife, Zhao Shilan, lied about their marriage status as part of a scheme to funnel stolen money into the US and to immigrate, according to the Wall Street Journal which cited documents unsealed Tuesday.
Zhao was arrested in the US and held without bail.
But the Justice Department said it does not know the whereabouts of Qiao, who had run one of the Chinese government’s largest grain stockpiles before he moved to the US in 2011.
He is wanted by the Chinese government on suspicion of bribery and theft, according to Chinese authorities.
The indictments, the most recent sign of US cooperation with China’s anti-corruption crackdown, come as the two sides pledged closer cooperation in pursuing cross-border crime.
But the absence of an extradition treaty has strained law-enforcement relations in recent years, the report said, citing authorities in both countries.
That has limited cooperation to piecemeal information sharing with rare exceptions.
Ronald Cheng, an assistant US attorney in Los Angeles, said the Justice Department case against Qiao is built partly on evidence provided by Chinese prosecutors and police who he said worked “pretty closely” with US counterparts.
He said US law enforcement officers traveled to Henan province where Qiao worked to review local allegations against the couple and interview witnesses.
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