22 Oct 2016, 36 mins ago

Chinese anti-corruption chief to approach USA to seek cooperation to extradite allegedly corrupt officials

China’s Operation Fox Hunt shows no signs of slowing down in the near future. Wang Qishan, who heads the Communist party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and has masterminded the unprecedented anti-corruption drive that has defined President Xi Jinping’s first two years in power, is reported to be planning a diplomatic mission to the United States later this year.

Mr. Wang is part of the seven-man Politburo Standing Committee and is reported to be extremely close to President Xi. It is suspected that bilateral cooperation with the United States with regards to extradition and other mutual legal assistance measures including asset seizure is likely to be high on the agenda. Securing an agreement for future cooperation between China and the United States will be no mean feat but President Xi’s anti-corruption drive has been described as a ‘life or death’ struggle and it is clear that the Chinese are extremely serious in their efforts to secure agreements abroad to continue the pursuit of alleged offenders.

A major stumbling block will be the often incredibly severe penalties handed out for white-collar crime in China, which in recent years have included life imprisonment or even the death penalty. However, China will be encouraged by its recent success in securing its first extradition from the EU under Operation Fox Hunt. In February 2015 Italy extradited a Chinese woman living in Bologna alleged to be “one of China’s most-wanted economic fugitives”. She is accused of embezzling 1.4 million yuan ($223,700) from clients at a security firm.

Commenting on the wider significance of the Italian case, a Chinese official stated, “The meaning of this extradition surpasses the case itself. This extradition case will serve as a demonstration for other western countries”.

It should be remembered that the lack of a formal extradition treaty between countries is often no bar to extradition as ad hoc arrangements are frequently reached between countries – particularly to deal with perceived ‘high-value’ targets. Anyone who believes they may be subject to extradition proceedings should exercise caution and seek advice before travelling. China is a member of INTERPOL and given its current pro-active stance with regards to extradition is likely to make increasing use of Red Notices.

Gherson has defeated extradition requests in a large of number of countries and frequently advises individuals subject to INTERPOL Red Notices. For a confidential discussion please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team.

25 March 2015