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Monday
Mar272017

China ‘Fox Hunt’ nabs white collar fugitives

China's Ministry of Public Security said 951 fugitives suspected of white-collar crimes were captured from 72 countries last year through Operation Fox Hunt.

Fox Hunt is part of China's effort to repatriate China citizens wanted for any crimes. The overall operation is called Sky Net.

From 2014 through 2016, Sky Net led to the capture of 2,566 fugitives from 90 countries and the recovery about $1.75 billion, the Singapore Straits Times said, citing a report from the Xinhua News Agency.

Xinhua said 1,283 fugitives voluntarily returned to China.

Overall, 410 of the captured fugitives were members of the Communist Party or official staff.

Most fugitives had fled to developed countries, including Canada, the United States and Australia, the report said.

Some tried to hide in Africa.

A retired tax official from Jiangsu province, Yang Xingfu, was returned to China from Zimbabwe "less than four months after he fled a corruption probe and hid in the southern African country," the report said.

A prosecutor from Jiangsu said the "operation shows that there is no haven for corrupt officials abroad."

The United States, Canada, and Australia haven't signed extradition treaties with China due to concerns about China’s death penalty for officials convicted of corruption.

But in 2000, the U.S. and China signed an agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. It's still in force.

The assistance includes serving documents, taking testimony or statements, providing original documents and certified copies for evidence, and helping with asset seizures and forfeiture requests.

The agreement also covers "transferring persons in custody for giving evidence or assisting in investigations" if "not contrary to the laws" of the requested party.

In 2014, France adopted to a similar mutual assistance agreement to help China track down and repatriate fugitives accused of corruption.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.