Former Chinese Official Banked Stolen Funds in Singapore
Li Huabo, a former local government official in China who fled the country last year, received S$182,700 ($148,000) in stolen money in his Singapore bank accounts, a prosecutor said at the start of a trial.
Li was arrested after a confidential informant told police in February 2011 that he had transferred proceeds of criminal conduct to Singapore, prosecutor Luke Tan said today in Singapore Subordinate Court. Interpol’s Bejing office also sent a notice to Singapore, Tan said.
Li, a Chinese national who had made investments and arrangements to settle in Singapore in early 2010, acquired Singapore permanent resident status and faces a jail term of as long as five years and an unspecified fine for each of the three charges of having received stolen funds. The money was transferred to his United Overseas Bank account between Dec. 6, 2010 and Jan. 15, 2011, according to court papers.
The case comes amid a crackdown on corruption in China ahead of its once-in-a-decade leadership transition. Former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun was last week charged with crimes including taking bribes and abuse of power. The Communist Party said last month it will impose a five-year plan to battle corruption and has banned lavish government banquets and luxury expenses.
Subhas Anandan, Li’s lawyer, declined to comment ahead of today’s hearing. Li, free on S$80,000 bail, also declined to comment.
Li, who earned 3,000 yuan ($473) a month as section director at Poyang County Finance Bureau where he oversaw water projects, made a S$1.5 million investment in Singapore, claiming he was a general manager of a Chinese energy company when he applied for permanent residency in the city state, Tan said.
As many as 18,000 officials from the government, judiciary and state-owned companies fled China with 800 billion yuan ($126 billion) since the 1990s, according to a report by the Chinese central bank that briefly appeared on its website in June last year.
The Chinese embassy in Singapore didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.
The criminal case is Public Prosecutor v Li Huabo. DAC2868-70/2012. Singapore Subordinate Courts.
To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Tan in Singapore at firstname.lastname@example.org
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