Ex-bank head returns to face trial

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Xu Chaofan, former head of the Kaiping subbranch of Bank of China in Guangdong province, has been returned to China from the United States to face trial on charges of embezzlement and corruption, the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said on Wednesday.

Xu Chaofan, former head of a Bank of China subbranch who fled to the US, arrives in Beijing on Wednesday. [Photo/Xinhua]

It said 2 billion yuan ($300 million) had been recovered.

"The successful repatriation is considered an important achievement in Sino-US anti-corruption law enforcement cooperation," the CCDI said in a statement. "He is the first corrupt fugitive repatriated from abroad since the National Supervisory Commission was set up (in March)."

Xu was accused of corruption and the embezzlement of $485 million in bank funds. He fled to the US in 2001 and Interpol issued a red notice for his arrest.

Xu was detained by US judicial authorities in 2003 and sentenced to 25 years in jail by a court in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2009 for fraud and money laundering.

In recent years, a number of corrupt officials from China and directors from State-owned companies have fled to Western destinations, including the US, Canada and New Zealand, to avoid punishment. Meanwhile, they have transferred billions in illicit assets to their foreign accounts through money laundering or underground banks.

In April 2015, Interpol disclosed information about the 100 most-wanted corrupt fugitives from China on its red notice list.

Since then, 53 have returned from more than 20 countries and regions, including 12 from the US, according to the CCDI.

The CCDI will beef up law enforcement cooperation with relevant countries, including the US and Canada, to hunt down fugitives and return their illegal assets.

Huang Feng, law professor from Beijing Normal University, said that although China and the US have achieved great progress in nabbing fugitives, the US is still the most popular destination for corrupt fugitives to flee due to the lack of an extradition treaty.

"The two sides should put aside political and legal differences and enhance pragmatic judicial cooperation to combat cross-border corruption crimes," he said.

Between March 2015 and the end of April, Chinese police brought back more than 4,000 economic fugitives to stand trial and confiscated nearly 10 billion yuan in illicit assets, the CCDI said.

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