China is welcoming stiff jail sentences a U.S. federal judge recently handed down to two Chinese former bankers. The two men were arrested in the United States and charged with being involved in a scam that embezzled more than $480 million from their former employer, the Bank of China.
China often takes issue with U.S. government actions that affect Chinese citizens. This time, though, China is pleased.
Earlier this month, a U.S. federal judge in Las Vegas sentenced Xu Chaofan and Xu Guojun, who are not related, to 25 and 22 years in jail each, on charges that included racketeering, money laundering, transporting stolen property and visa fraud.
Their wives were charged as accomplices and each sentenced to eight years in jail. The four, along with another Chinese banker who confessed and has already been deported to China, were involved in an elaborate scheme to defraud $485 million from the Bank of China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu Tuesday said his government welcomes the May 6th sentences.
Ma calls the verdict an example of positive progress in Sino-American cooperation in law enforcement.
The criminal conspiracy began in 1991 and ended in 2004, when federal agents apprehended the two bank managers and their wives, in the United States.
The spokesman says the recent sentences also show that no matter where or how long criminals hide, international cooperation means they will be brought to justice.
The spokesman says China hopes for continued U.S. assistance in recovering the stolen property. He also urged the extradition of the culprits back to China.
In a press release at the time of the sentencing, federal Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said U.S. authorities will hold fully accountable foreign nationals who abuse the financial systems of their home countries and then seek to live off their ill-gotten gains in the United States.
Xu and Xu were managers at a Bank of China branch in Kaiping, southern Guangdong province. They used their positions to approve phony loans and money transfers, and then laundered huge sums through Hong Kong, Canada and the United States.
Their transactions included bets made with stolen money, of up to $80,000 each, at Las Vegas casinos.
Besides serving jail time, the four defendants also have been ordered to pay $482 million in restitution.