'Solid evidence' will be sent to break US fugitive gridlock

By ZHANG YAN (China Daily)     Updated : 2015-11-12

Law enforcement officers are expecting to bring more fugitive corruption suspects to trial from their hideouts in the United States, now that authorities are offering US counterparts "more solid evidence", a senior Ministry of Justice official said.

Such evidence, prepared to better meet the requirements of the US justice system, is expected to break the gridlock of technicalities that has been the biggest obstacle to law enforcement cooperation between the two countries, said Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director-general of the ministry's Judicial Assistance and Foreign Affairs Department.

Zhang told China Daily that, apart from information about the fugitives' likely whereabouts, Chinese law enforcement authorities will provide through legal channels a sound report about the suspects' illicit activities back home and the amount of funds they might have transferred abroad, to form a "complete chain of evidence".

The information would include proof of the fugitives' money laundering from China and evidence of forgery of papers used in applying for US residential status.

In recent years, due to lack of extradition treaties and disparities between legal systems, a number of Chinese corrupt officials fled to foreign countries with their ill-gotten money, the most likely destinations being the US, Canada and New Zealand, justice officials said.

US justice authorities have said that the US doesn't want to be a haven for corrupt Chinese officials, and that they expect more evidence from China before they can assist it in nabbing the fugitives and confiscating their assets.

Zhang said Chinese justice departments are willing to work with their US counterparts by offering high-quality evidence.

From 2004 to last year, only two Chinese corruption fugitives were repatriated from the US. Since last year, however, the US has become more responsive to Chinese requests in some corruption cases.

But there is still room for improvement in the cooperation, Zhang said.

"It's more than necessary to establish a professional law enforcement team that can better understand US laws and is proficient at speaking English and applying the laws and international laws," Zhang said.