China vows to recover assets of `runway` officials

For years, China confronted the problem of "runaway officials", who first shift their families abroad and later join them.

Beijing: China on Thursday said it will ask other countries to freeze illegal assets transferred abroad by "runway" corrupt officials and take steps to recover such wealth to cut off their means for living overseas.

Major destinations of transfer of funds by China`s "runway corrupt officials" include the US, the UK and Australia, an official from the anti-corruption bureau of the Supreme People`s Procuratorate said.

All these countries now recognise the criminal ruling of confiscation brought out by China last year, the official, who wished to remain anonymous, said on the sidelines of a seminar of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities in Chinese city of Dalian.

"If the material bases can be destroyed, we can effectively prevent suspects from escaping abroad, suppress their living space overseas, and compel them to return home for surrender," state-run news agency Xinhua quoted him.

For years, China confronted the problem of "runaway officials", who first shift their families abroad and later join them.

Beijing has imposed a lot of restrictions for the families of Chinese officials on travelling abroad. China has prevented large amount of illicit assets from being transferred abroad by coordinating with other countries and regions, he said.

However, he said, there is an obstacle in the process, as procuratorates can only seal, freeze or seize illicit assets involving crimes committed while in public duty for a limited period of time, instead of permanently confiscating them.

The official said the work will be fully carried out after the amendment to the Criminal Procedural Law takes effect on January 01, 2013.

The amendment to the law, which was brought out last year stipulated that procuratorates can submit to the courts to confiscate the illicit assets of officials suspected of corruption if the suspects are missing or dead.

Procuratorates can also apply to the courts to confiscate illicit assets overseas. After making a ruling of confiscation, the courts can request other countries to recognise and implement Chinese court judgements.

According to the statistics by a leading Chinese think-tank, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 18,000 Communist Party and government officials, public-security members, judicial cadres and senior officials of state-owned enterprises have fled China since 1990.

About USD 120 billion is believed to be stashed abroad by these officials.


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