Another corruption suspect repatriated from US to China

Updated: 2015-09-24 11:01


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Another corruption suspect repatriated from US to China

Kuang Wanfang, an economic crime suspect, was repatriated to China from the US on Thursday. [File photo]

BEIJING - Kuang Wanfang, an economic crime suspect, was repatriated to China on Thursday thanks to close cooperation between Chinese authorities and their US counterparts.

The woman, who fled to the US in 2001, is suspected of taking part in corruption and bribery.

The move followed the forced repatriation of Yang Jinjun, one of China's most wanted economic fugitives, from the US on September 18.

Related: Fugitive-list suspect repatriated from US

By Paul Welitzkin in New York (China Daily USA)

Updated: 2015-09-21

One of the most-wanted fugitives sought by Chinese authorities remains in custody in the United States following the repatriation last week of a Chinese corruption suspect who is a brother of the fugitive.

Yang Xiuzhu, former vice-mayor of Wenzhou in Zhejiang province, is in US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody pending removal to China, for violating the terms of the Visa Waiver Program, according to ICE spokesman Luis Martinez. She was last reported to be held at a detention facility in Hudson County, New Jersey.

"As a foreign law enforcement fugitive, Yang (Xiuzhu) is an ICE enforcement priority," Martinez wrote in an e-mail to China Daily on Sept 18. Yang is accused of accepting $41 million in bribes. She fled China in 2003. Yang was detained last June as she was entering the US from Canada using a fake Dutch passport. She is seeking asylum in the US.

Yang Xiuzhu's brother, Yang Jinjun, 57, was sent back to China on Sept 18 through "close cooperation" between the judicial, law enforcement and foreign affairs authorities of China and the United States, said China's chief anticorruption body, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), in a statement.

"Yang Jinjun's forced repatriation is an important development in China-United States cooperation in anticorruption law enforcement," Hong Lei, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, said during a regularly scheduled news conference on Sept 18. "We appreciate the cooperation of the United States," he added.

Yang Jinjun, who was on a list of 100 most-wanted Chinese fugitives abroad released by China last April, is the first of the 100 to be sent back from the US. This is part of a program spearheaded by President Xi Jinping to crack down on corruption and comes ahead of a state visit by him to the US this week. China and the US do not have an extradition treaty.

Yang Jinjun was the general manager of a company in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province. The CCDI believes he fled China to the US in 2001. He is suspected of embezzlement and bribery.

In May, Zhao Shilan, the ex-wife of former Chinese government official Qiao Jianjun, pleaded not guilty to US charges of money laundering and immigration fraud in Los Angeles. Earlier this year a federal grand jury indicted Zhao, 51, and Qiao, also 51, on three counts each of money laundering and immigration fraud. They are accused of fraudulently obtaining EB-5 immigrant-investor visas to enter the US and of laundering money from China.

Request to a spokesman for the US Attorney's office in Los Angeles to confirm Zhao was still in custody received no response by press time.

Qiao was once director of China's largest grain stockpile, Sinograin, and has been sought by the Chinese government since 2011 after he fled to the US on suspicion of bribery and theft of national assets. He and his wife then allegedly transmitted $900,000 to the US and bought properties in suburban Seattle. Qiao remains at large and is being sought by US authorities.

Qiao is No 3 on the list of the 100 most-wanted Chinese fugitives abroad.