Screws tightened on money launderers

2022-11-14 08:34:23China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

A worker counts Chinese currency renminbi at a bank in Linyi, East China's Shandong province. (Photo/Xinhua)

The number of money laundering cases prosecuted nationwide has increased rapidly since 2020, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

Zhang Xiaojin, head of the fourth procuratorial office of the SPP, said that procuratorial organs have continuously increased punishment for money laundering in recent years.

According to statistics released by the SPP, 1,462 people were prosecuted for money laundering between January and September this year, a year-on-year increase of 142.5 percent.

"We have also stepped up efforts in handling crimes related to money laundering, combining this with other ongoing operations such as fighting drugs, embezzlement, bribery and fraud," he said.

Zhang said that procuratorates have strengthened coordination with branches of the People's Bank of China to formulate tailored action plans to combat money laundering, which lays a solid institutional foundation for the smooth promotion of anti-money laundering work.

In a case released by the SPP, a group led by a man surnamed Zhu, registered a company in Binhu district, Wuxi, Jiangsu province, to illegally sell lottery tickets from August 2017 to January 2020. The fake scheme netted 300 million yuan ($41.4 million) in ill-gotten gains.

The company used a variety of methods to publicize claims that its professional, analytical team presented them with a higher chance of winning, and promised a high monthly interest rate to lure investors and illegally raise funds.

To conceal the illegal income, another man surnamed Huang put Zhu in touch with an offshore money laundering group and dispersed 230 million yuan across 60 puppet bank accounts, before transferring the money to secondary and tertiary accounts.

In January 2020, the company went bankrupt after being unable to meet the principal and interest of its hoodwinked customers. Zhu then asked Huang to help him sell two of his cars, worth 1.04 million yuan.

Later, Huang introduced Zhu to a trafficking group, which helped smuggle him and two other people out of the country. The three were captured in March 2020.

The Binhu District Court sentenced Zhu to 15 years and three months in prison for illegal fundraising, fraud and cross-border smuggling, and a fine of 20,000 yuan in April 2022.

The court sentenced Huang to five years and nine months in prison for money laundering and cross-border smuggling and fined him 3.05 million yuan in December 2020.

Zhang said that the procuratorial organs will use anti-money laundering measures to curb crimes that may result in money laundering and recover stolen goods. While handling cases, prosecutors must determine whether the suspects subjectively concealed or hid their illegal gains, and ensure the proper application of the law.

"The SPP will promptly study and solve new issues that emerge while handling money laundering cases and work with other departments to create synergy on combating the crime," he said.

To consolidate anti-money laundering efforts, 11 departments including the SPP, the People's Bank of China and the Ministry of Public Security formulated and implemented a three-year action plan on combating money laundering between 2022 and 2024 in January of this year.


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