China, Canada sign treaty to return fugitives’ assets in fraud and corruption cases — Trudeau sidesteps questions — “No safe harbour for fugitives from China”

North American nation one of main destinations for corrupt officials fleeing mainland and agreement said to be first of its kind China has signed with another country

By Zhuang Pinghui
South China Morning Post

Friday, September 23, 2016, 3:46 p.m.
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China has signed a treaty with Canada, one of the main destinations of Chinese corruption or fraud suspects fleeing the country, to allow the return of stolen assets, state media reported.

If the source of ill-gotten gains cannot be verified, the two nations will share the assets.

The treaty on the sharing and return of forfeited assets was signed during Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Canada this week.

It is the first agreement on assets recovery China has signed with another country amid Beijing’s high-profile global hunt for corruption fugitives.

“This agreement has provides an effective legal measure between China and Canada to confiscate the criminal proceeds transferred to the other country and opened doors to more such cooperation with other countries,” Sun Ang, an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was quoted as saying by the Legal Daily on Friday.

Canada, which has no formal extradition treaty with China, signed a treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal cases with the mainland in 1994, the first such pact China signed with another country, the report said.

China and Canada have been discussing a pact on recovering illegal assets since 1996, but closer trade

ties between the two nations made the need for a treaty increasingly urgent and many rounds of negotiations were conducted since 2008, said Sun.

“This is a strong signal for the criminals that countries overseas are no longer a safe harbour for their criminal gains. Do not have the illusion that their family can still sit on the mountain of silver and gold after suspects are caught,” Sun said.

The agreement stipulates that assets should be returned to their legitimate owners if ownership is confirmed.

If the source of criminal proceeds cannot be identified, the country seizing and holding the assets will share them with the other. The proportion of assets shared will depend on how much cooperation the other country gave in the investigation.

Ideally all criminal gains should be returned, but under most circumstances this was an impossible goal and sharing the assets ensured China got back the most criminal gains possible, Sun was quoted as saying.

China’s anti-corruption agency said earlier this month that one third of the nation’s most wanted corruption fugitives had been returned to the mainland.

Over the past two years since setting up a team to chase graft suspects across the globe, the body has returned to China 1,915 people from more than 70 countries, along with 7.47 billion yuan (HK$8.7 billion), it said.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2021977/china-canada-sign-treaty-return-assets-stolen-fraud

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sidestepped questions on Tuesday on the sensitive topic of possible extraditions to China, saying Canada would stick to high standards when deciding whether to return Chinese citizens.

A statement posted on Trudeau’s website said his national security adviser went to Beijing last week and agreed to start talks about an extradition treaty as part of a security dialogue.

China, which wants the return of officials suspected of corruption who it says are hiding in Canada, has long pressed for such a treaty.

Some Western countries are reluctant to sign extradition deals with China, partly out of concern about the integrity of its judicial system and treatment of prisoners.

Some people convicted of corruption face the death penalty. Canada refuses to send people to countries without assurances they will not be executed.

“Extradition is certainly one of the things the Chinese have indicated they want to talk about,” Trudeau told a televised news conference at the United Nations.

 Kevin Garratt hugs his wife Julia in Vancouver on September 15, 2016. He was freed by China after two years detention on spying charges. Photo: Reuters

“As everyone knows, Canada has very high standards in terms of extradition treaties in accordance with our values. But we’re happy to have a high-level security dialogue,” he said.

News of the Beijing meeting revived speculation Ottawa had made concessions to secure the return of Kevin Garratt, a Canadian citizen convicted of spying, whom China deported last week.

Canadian officials insist there was no deal, and that the Garratt release was unrelated to the extradition talks.

Garratt’s release was widely seen as a triumph for Trudeau, who visited Beijing earlier this month in a bid to seal closer economic ties. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrives in Canada on Wednesday for the start of a three-day trip.

The opposition Conservative Party, long suspicious of China’s human rights record, accused Trudeau of abandoning Canadian principles.

“Does the prime minister not understand that our openness to China should be about encouraging China to adopt our values for human rights, as opposed to us giving in to China’s?” interim party leader Rona Ambrose told the House of Commons.

China does not have extradition treaties with the United States, Australia or Canada, which according to state media are the most popular destinations for suspected economic criminals from China.

A number of suspects wanted by China are known to reside in Canada.

They include the Vancouver-based property developer Michael Ching Mo Yeung, who is wanted by China for alleged embezzlement and concealing stolen funds.

Ching, who is seeking refugee status in Canada, is wanted under the name Cheng Muyang. He is the son of Cheng Weigao, the former Communist Party secretary of Hebei province who was expelled from the party for corruption and died in 2010.

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2 Responses to “China, Canada sign treaty to return fugitives’ assets in fraud and corruption cases — Trudeau sidesteps questions — “No safe harbour for fugitives from China””

  1. Rifleman III Says:

    Reblogged this on .

  2. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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