– China central bank finds officials stole billions (MarketWatch, June 17, 2011):
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Corrupt Chinese officials and employees of state-owned companies have absconded with about 800 billion yuan ($123.7 billion) of public money over 15 years through 2008, much of it making its way to the U.S., Canada, Australia and the Netherlands, according to Chinese news reports citing a central bank study.
The 67-page report, completed in 2008, was posted on the People’s Bank of China’s website this week, purportedly by mistake, and has since been taken down, although PDFs of the document are circulating in cyberspace.
In the report, which appears never to have been intended for public release, the PBOC estimated about 16,000 to 18,000 individuals have fled the country with ill-gotten funds over a 15-year period leading up to the report’s release, according to news-media accounts.
The PBOC focused upon where people went and how they got the embezzled funds out of the country.
One method, the study was cited as saying, was with the help of family or other trusted individuals who emigrated overseas, often using fake documents.
The report was also cited as saying some of the money was smuggled into the former Portuguese colony of Macau, now the world’s biggest gambling hub, where it was laundered through casinos and then used to fund lavish lifestyles abroad.
Once reported anecdote involved the case of Zhang Jian, a former Communist Party official in Jiangsu province, who visited Macau 48 times over a two-year period.
A report in The Australian, meanwhile, cited a passage in the central-bank study saying officials were crossing over the border at Shenzhen, bearing suitcases of bank notes “like ants moving houses.”
The PBOC said in the report it planned to work more closely with foreign governments to block the officials from escaping with looted funds. It also said it has increasingly begun to take part in international anti-money-laundering organizations.
The report won the top prize at the China Society for Finance and Banking’s annual awards for research and was posted on the PBOC’s website, though removed a short time later after it made headlines in domestic news media, according to The Australian’s account. Read The Australian’s coverage of the PBOC corruption report.