April 22, 2015 / 11:40 AM / in 4 years

China's Interpol office issues list of economic fugitives: graft watchdog

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Interpol office has released a list of 100 wanted economic fugitives, the ruling Communist Party’s anti-corruption watchdog said on Wednesday, as the government deepens its fight against suspected corrupt officials who have fled overseas.

The people on the list, published on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, were mostly mid-level officials and company executives.

Among them was Yang Xiuzhu, a senior official who oversaw construction projects in the booming eastern province of Zhejiang. She was eventually detained in Amsterdam in 2005 but, nearly a decade on, China has yet to get her back despite protracted negotiations with the Netherlands.

The move is part of “Sky Net”, an initiative that the Chinese government unveiled last month to better coordinate its fight against suspected corrupt officials who have fled overseas, and to recover their dirty assets.

The list from Interpol’s National Central Bureau of China showed the suspects’ photographs, identification and visa numbers, possible flight destinations and the crimes they were accused of committing.

“Via Interpol and other channels, China has requested law enforcement organs in related countries to strengthen cooperation and help bring these suspects back to justice,” it said.

The CCDI said the 100 people were only a fraction of the country’s targets, and future suspects escaping overseas will receive the same treatment.

“With intensified effort, a ‘sky net’ is being weaved,” the agency said. “We will strengthen law enforcement cooperation with other countries and mobilize various resources to make these fugitives unwelcome guests and finally bring them back to justice.”

The sums of money believed to have been spirited out of China from all types of malfeasance are staggering. The Washington-based Global Financial Integrity group, a non-profit organization that analyses illicit financial flows, estimates that about $2.83 trillion flowed illegally out of China from 2005 to 2011.

Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Alex Richardson

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