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Monday
Jun232014

U.S. surrenders fugitive tycoon to face Hong Kong bribery charges

Honk Kong property tycoon Zeng Wei The U.S. surrendered the director of a property development company after his arrest for immigration offenses ended three years of running from Hong Kong bribery charges.

Zeng Wei, 51, was first arrested in 2010 by Hong Kong's anti-graft body, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), on bribery and money-laundering charges.

He fled Hong Kong during his trial in 2011.

In January this year, the United States Homeland Security Investigations unit of Immigration and Customs Enforcement told the ICAC that a person named Liu Zhiqian was arrested for immigration-related offenses when he tried to enter the U.S. commonwealth of Saipan. The person turned out to be Zeng.

The ICAC asked the United States to surrender Zeng under an agreement between the government of Hong Kong and the U.S.

Zeng waived his right to fight extradition. He said he will plead guilty to offering bribes to a bank officer and laundering the proceeds of crime. He's due in court in Hong Kong on June 27.

The ICAC alleged that Zeng offered $297,000 to Derick Chan Po-fui, the former head of the corporate banking department of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC), as a reward for extending the repayment dates of loans to Zeng or his companies from the ICBC.

Another charge alleged that Zeng offered a mobile phone to Chan for the same purpose. Zeng was also accused of conspiring with Chan to deal with the $297,000, knowing that it represented the proceeds of an indictable offense.

After Zeng failed to appear for his trial in July 2011, the Hong Kong district court issued a warrant for his arrest, set bail at $103,000, and placed an Interpol Red Notice on him for apprehension.

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Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.