Italian prosecutors are seeking to indict 297 individuals and Bank of China (BoC) in connection with a massive money-laundering investigation, Associated Press reported.
The suspects, mostly Chinese migrants living in Italy, include four senior managers of BoC’s Milan branch, according to the report.
Prosecutors in Florence allege 4.5 billion euro (US$5.1 billion) was transferred from Italy to China, in proceeds earned through prostitution, counterfeiting, tax evasion and labor exploitation.
Nearly half that money was funneled through the BoC, which in turn earned over 758,000 euros in commissions, the report said, citing Italian investigative documents.
The money had been fractioned into small sums to avoid detection, and the bank’s management and audit staff failed to report suspicious transactions, helping conceal the source and destination of the funds, prosecutors say.
In December 2013, a spotlight was thrown on working conditions for Chinese migrants in Italy when seven workers died in a fire at a garment shop in Prato, near Florence.
Some factories were linked to Chinese organized crime, Tuscany’s regional governor said at that time, BBC noted.
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