China state media said Monday that more than 150 economic fugitives, many of them allegedly corrupt officials, are living in the United States.
“The U.S. has become the top destination for Chinese fugitives fleeing the law,” according to Liao Jinrong, director general of the International Cooperation Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security. He was quoted by the China Daily.
Since 2008, 730 fugitives charged with economic crimes have been brought back to China. But the total number of fugitives and the amount of illicit money they took remain unknown.
“We face practical difficulties in getting fugitives who fled to the U.S. back to face trial due to the lack of an extradition treaty and the complex and lengthy legal procedures, ” Liao said.
According to the China Daily,
China’s Ministry of Public Security is trying to set up an annual high-level meeting with U.S. judicial authorities, including the Department of Homeland Security, the China Daily newspaper said, citing Wang Gang, a senior official from the public security ministry’s International Cooperation Bureau.
In addition to North America, popular destinations for the fleeing officials are Africa and other Asia countries.
China has extradition treaties with 37 countries, but not with the U.S., Canada and most European countries.
Foreign governments have “expressed reluctance to hand over Chinese suspects as they could face the death penalty in China,” NBC News said.
China authorities have also intensified the crackdown on “naked officials,” whose spouses or children have migrated overseas. The naked officials are more likely to engage in corruption and flee overseas, the government has said.
The Guangdong provincial government recently identified 2,190 “naked officials” and sacked more than 850 from their posts.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.