Ex-official indicted in money laundering
Updated: 2015-03-20 12:16
By June Chang in San Francisco(China Daily)
An assistant US attorney in Los Angeles said that the United States and China worked closely on a case that this week saw the indictment of an ex-Chinese official on money laundering charges.
Ronald Cheng said the Justice Department case against Qiao Jianjun, 51, was built partly on evidence provided by Chinese prosecutors and police, Reuters reported.
He said US law enforcement officers traveled to Henan province for the case.
"On the Chinese side, they call it corrupt officials. On our side, we'd say there's a corruption element but it also involves money laundering and immigration fraud," Cheng told Reuters.
Cheng would not reveal details of the investigation to China Daily, but said he hoped for more cooperation with China in the future.
The Justice Department unsealed a grand jury indictment on Tuesday alleging that Qiao Jianjun, 51, and his ex-wife, Zhao Shilan, 51, fraudulently obtained visas to enter the US through an immigrant investor program by lying about their marriage status, and laundered money to buy property in Washington. She was arrested in Newcastle, Washington, and held without bail. Qiao is being sought.
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. The couple then transmitted $900,000 to the US and bought properties in suburban Seattle.
In China, both the Supreme People's Procuratorate and Ministry of Public Security provided evidences to their American counterparts, besides helping the US law enforcement officers gather information and conduct interviews in Henan province.
Howard Chen, partner of KL & Gates in San Francisco, and Chris Zhang, an attorney based in the Silicon Valley, praised the joint work of US and Chinese officials.
Zhang said the arrest and indictment of Zhao is a step in the right direction because that would be in the best interest of people in both China and the US.
"The US has a committee to reduce corruption worldwide through the Foreign Corrupted practices Act enforcement, and China has also been ramping up its anticorruption effort with resolve and determination," Zhang added.
Chen said the growth of China in the past 30 years has left a lot of problems unsolved.
"They are working toward a fairer society and the world is watching them. America should not be a shelter for criminals; even if they bring fortune to this side of the Pacific," said the veteran partner of the law firm. "Money does not make them immune from law, and let's not give them hope, especially those former officials who took the public money to build their own bank account."