Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Naked and the Prosecuted

"Naked Officials" are Chinese who have established their families overseas and return alone to China to work. They hold the overseas arrangement as an escape hatch.

China’s Gao Shan heads home to face charges on $130M fraud ring after eight years hiding in Vancouver
Mr. Gao is the former manager of the Bank of China branch in Harbin, a city of 10 million near the Russian border. According to Chinese authorities, between 2000 and 2004 Mr. Gao was the ringleader of a scheme to siphon cash from corporate accounts.

Only weeks before the alleged fraud was discovered, say Chinese officials, Mr. Gao boarded a plane to Canada. Just before leaving, the banker reportedly told colleagues he was merely going to Beijing for surgery. He also instructed a colleague to hold onto his cell phone and leave it on. “Mr. Gao appears to have been trying to create the illusion that he was still in China,” reads the transcript of a 2007 Canadian immigration hearing.
Suspect in huge bank fraud returns to China
Li, a friend of Gao's, is said to have lured several state-owned companies to deposit huge sums of money in Gao's branch in Harbin City. The money was then transferred by Gao to dozens of accounts controlled by Li. About 500 million yuan in cash was later withdrawn from 29 accounts in 18 banks in Harbin and Daqing, the weekly reported.

. . .

The Bank of China, other big state-owned banks and the country's financial regulatory system were called into question.

Gao's case also angered Chinese immigrants in Vancouver. The Chinese newspaper there, World News, said such cases had damaged the image of Chinese immigrants. Corrupt officials arriving in Canada were also the cause of surging property prices.
Bold mine.

Zhou Rongyao, director of the Canadian studies institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said earlier that Canada had become a "paradise" for corrupt officials due to flaws in its immigration procedures and its judiciary inefficiency.
Back to the National Post article:
As many as 4,000 Chinese fraudsters have fled overseas in recent years, taking with them as much as $50-billion in ill-gotten funds, according to estimates by Chinese media. “Most of them are still living the high life in foreign countries,” wrote the Shanghai Daily on Tuesday.
That's the lowest estimate running. A Bank of China report last year put the number at 17-18,000 and 120 billion and that was only through 2007. Chinese prosecutors claim to have caught 18,500 officials and state company executives trying to illegally leave the country in the last twelve years. Watchdog Global Financial says China leads the world in money taken out illegally and pegs exit flows at 2.7 trillion between 2000 and 2009. (source)

The U.S. attracts far more naked officials than Canada does, but Canada does have the bonus quality of being slow to extradite to countries if the accused will face the death penalty.

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