June 1, 2020 / 5:43 PM / a month ago

Former Chinese official extradited to U.S. on money laundering, fraud charges: DOJ

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former Chinese official and fugitive has been extradited from Sweden to Los Angeles to face charges of money laundering and immigration fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Monday.

U.S. authorities took Jianjun Qiao into custody over the weekend for allegedly conspiring to commit immigration fraud and international transport of stolen money and to commit money laundering, among the charges, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney for the Central District of California.

Qiao, also known as “Feng Li”, was on the run for more than five years as he faced charges in both the United States and China. He allegedly laundered millions of dollars while a director of a state-owned grain storehouse from 1998 to 2011, according to Monday’s statement and a 2018 indictment. Qiao allegedly used the funds to purchase two properties in Monterey Park, California.

An lawyer for Qiao did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

Sweden’s Supreme Court had previously blocked a Chinese extradition request, saying there was a risk he would be persecuted because of his political activity. Court documents seen by Reuters previously showed Qiao had stated he had fled from China in 2011 after coming under pressure for joining a banned political party.

Qiao was due to be arraigned on Monday afternoon in Los Angeles.

Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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