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China: A third of our most wanted graft suspects who fled overseas are back

More than 30 of China’s 100 most wanted corruption suspects who fled overseas have been brought back to the country, the main anti-graft agency said this week.

The 100 most wanted list was made public in 2014. China requested Interpol Red Notices for the suspects, making them the target of arrest in most countries.

China dubbed its chase of overseas graft suspects Operation Fox Hunt.

Interpol members (all countries except North Korea) have the right to request a Red Notice, asking other members to detain and extradite a wanted individual. Interpol grants most Red Notice requests within hours.

Since China requested the Red Notices for its top 100 graft suspects two years ago, 33 have returned, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said.

The agency didn’t say how may were extradited or came back voluntarily.

Some Western countries including the United States and Canada are reluctant to extradite suspects to China because the country imposes the death penalty for some economic crimes.

The United States and China don’t have an extradition treaty.

But last year during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Washington, the U.S. government agreed to recognize and enforce property confiscation judgments rendered by Chinese courts in anti-corruption cases.

Overall during the past two years, 1,915 graft suspects have returned to China from more than 70 countries.

The Central Commission has also recovered about $1 billion during Operation Fox Hunt, it said.

The G20 countries at their summit in Hangzhou this month agreed to set up a research center in China to study the issue of returning corrupt officials and their assets, the South China Morning Post reported.

China currently has 160 active Red Notices listed with Interpol. Not all are related to corruption.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He’ll be the keynote speaker at the FCPA Blog NYC Conference 2016.

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