China, US hunting down Chinese corruption fugitives abroad

World Today

File: Qiao Jianjun, former director of the state company that manages the country’s grain reserves in Henan province, is being prosecuted for money laundering and immigration fraud in the U.S..(Credit: Pengpai News)

A wanted former Chinese official’s ex-wife was arrested in the US state of Washington on allegations of immigration fraud and money laundering. After thanking the US for its cooperation, China also expressed its determination to continue extraditing officials charged with corruption. This is one of the most visible displays of US cooperation with China’s anti-corruption crackdown.

The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday indicted Qiao Jianjun, the former director of a government grain storehouse in central China and his former wife Zhao Shilan, accusing them of immigration fraud and money laundering. While the wife was arrested, Qiao Jianjun is still at large. It is unclear if he has a lawyer.

China says it appreciates the help from the US.

“We appreciate the measures taken by the US, the next step is for the two sides to further strengthen cooperation. There are no safe harbors in the world for corrupt elements like Qiao Jianjun. No matter how far away he escapes and no matter how long he remains at large, the Chinese government will hunt him down and bring him back,” said Hong Lei, spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Before indicting the couple, US law enforcement agents traveled to China to interview witnesses and gather information.

Currently, China has extradition treaties with 39 countries, but not with the US, which is one of the most notorious destinations for suspected Chinese economic criminals.

In the US alone, there are an estimated 150 Chinese economic fugitives, many of them corrupt former officials and China says it will continue efforts until all of them are brought home and brought to justice.

For more on the case, CCTV America’s Wei Xuejiao interviewed David Benowitz, a criminal defense attorney from Price Benowitz LLP .

David Benowitz on China-US anti-corruption cooperation

CCTV America's Wei Xuejiao interviewed David Benowitz, a criminal defense attorney on more of the Qiao Jianjun case and U.S.-China anti-corruption cooperation.