World / Europe

France to assist in hunt for corruption suspects

By Reuters in Paris (China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-04 07:44

France to assist in hunt for corruption suspects

Robert Gelli, director of the Criminal Affairs Department of the French Ministry of Justice, speaks during an interview with Reuters in his office in Paris November 24, 2014.[Photo/Agencies]

France is ready to help China track down people suspected of corruption who may be on French soil, according to a French justice ministry official.

It does not rule out extraditing any suspects it finds to China, the official said.

As part of the anti-corruption drive under President Xi Jinping, China is pursuing fugitives overseas under the "Fox Hunt 2014" campaign.

Robert Gelli, the French justice ministry's director of criminal affairs, said Chinese authorities will soon send their French counterparts a list of people suspected of "getting rich from corruption and seeking refuge in other countries, or investing this money in other countries".

The list is expected to contain about 10 names, with two or three of these people thought to be in France, Gelli said. The rest may be elsewhere in Europe, but have current or previous links to France.

China has so far arrested 288 fugitives suspected of committing economic crimes, Xinhua News Agency has reported, citing activities in 56 countries. The Global Financial Integrity Group, in Washington, DC, estimates that $1.08 trillion flowed out of China illegally from 2002 to 2011.

The three most popular destinations for corruption suspects are the United States, Canada and Australia, with which China does not have extradition treaties.

However, Australian police said in October they will help Beijing find and seize the assets of corrupt Chinese officials, media reports said.

A Franco-Chinese extradition treaty agreed in 2007 has still not been ratified by French lawmakers.

But Gelli, who last month visited his counterpart in Beijing, said the possibility of returning suspects to China was "not at all excluded" if China meets French demands and agrees not to impose the death penalty.

Any extraditions would need to go through an appeals court and be signed by the French prime minister.

Early last month, Gelli said France will help the Chinese judiciary by confiscating the illegal assets many corrupt officials have transferred to France, and the two countries will share the seized funds.

"We will try to locate the ill-gotten funds that corrupt Chinese officials sent to France and take immediate action to freeze them, such as houses, cars and bank savings and other investments," he said.

"In addition, for each individual case, we will negotiate with our Chinese counterparts to share the seized funds in a proper proportion."

Trudeau visits Sina Weibo
May gets little gasp as EU extends deadline for sufficient progress in Brexit talks
Ethiopian FM urges strengthened Ethiopia-China ties
Yemen's ex-president Saleh, relatives killed by Houthis
Most Popular
Hot Topics