Watchdog to eye fugitive officials

By Cathy Wong Source:Global Times Published: 2014-7-30 0:43:01

New office will track those fleeing overseas with billions

China's top anti-graft watchdog has established a new office called the "International Cooperation Bureau" to track corrupt officials who have fled abroad with their ill-gotten gains, in an attempt to strengthen efforts to catch fugitive officials. 

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) announced Monday on its official website that the new bureau, merging the former foreign affairs office and corruption prevention office, is part of the reshuffle of the commission which ended in March.

"The International Cooperation Bureau has an important function in hunting down fugitive officials and corrupt money. It will carry out organized investigations into related cases," Xie Guanghui, a deputy director of the agency, was quoted as saying in the website.

Xie pledged that more efforts and resources will be devoted to the investigations.

A series of actions has been rolled out since Wang Qishan, the head of the CCDI, demanded in January stronger efforts to go after fugitive officials and corrupt money, and pledged in a meeting that laid out a renewed plan on international cooperation against corruption.

The Ministry of Public Security in July launched an operation dubbed "Fox Hunt 2014," to hunt down corrupt officials and suspects in economic crimes who have fled the country, Xinhua reported.

A comprehensive and cross-departmental network, spearheaded by the CCDI, has been developed, involving the Supreme People's Procuratorate, Supreme People's Court, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State Administration of Foreign Exchange, and General Administration of Customs, the Nandu Daily reported.

"The establishment of the new office will help to coordinate cross-departmental cooperation in tracking fugitive officials and their illicit funds with its clear objectives," said Ren Jianming, an anti-corruption expert at Beihang University.

In 2013, 762 people suspected of criminality in taking advantage of their positions of power were brought back to China from abroad, with 10.14 billion yuan ($16.4 billion) confiscated, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

Wang Gongyi, a former senior official at the Ministry of Justice, believes with the establishment of the new office, stronger efforts will be poured into international negotiation.

 "The biggest difficulty China is now facing in tracking down the fugitive officials is not insufficiency within the judicial system, but the reluctance of some countries to extradite related suspects," Wang said.

Zhong Wei, an economic expert with Beijing Normal University believes illegal funds that have already been transferred aboard will be hard to retrieve, as foreign banks are not likely to provide confidential client information.

However, China and US are set to provide each other with reciprocal bank information, the Wall Street Journal reported in June. Experts told the Global Times that such a treaty would help the crackdown on corrupt officials who fled abroad.

Posted in: Politics

blog comments powered by Disqus