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China officials, fearing crackdown, are dumping illicit properties

Real estate agents in Guangdong and Jiangsu provinces are reportedly scrambling to sell a “torrent” of properties suddenly thrown onto the market by officials fearing exposure ahead of an expected anti-corruption crackdown.
A Jiangsu official was overheard barking into his mobile, “Sell these four houses for me as soon as possible. Don’t sell them any cheaper than two million yuan (US $319,660) each. Quick, quick, this is how we will settle it.”
In theory, officials are required to disclose all their assets to higher-ups on an annual basis. Loopholes and spotty enforcement, however, have often gotten in the way of transparency.
But some have speculated times are about to get tougher for officials who possess undeclared properties.
In October, Cai Bin, a senior urban management official in Guangzhou (Guangdong Province), was sacked after netizens revealed his family owned 22 properties worth a total of 40 million yuan (US $6.4 million).
One report called the property dump observed in these two provinces just the “tip of the iceberg.”

Source: Oriental Morning Post (东方早报)


Benjamin Kessler is a contributing editor of the FCPA Blog and managing editor of ethiXbase. A version of this post appeared in the China Compliance Digest.

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