Bank of China accused of offering a money laundering service to prospective emigrants to places like Canada and US

By Christine Duhaime | July 10th, 2014

According to a report in the South China Morning Post here, the state television news organization of China, CCTV, has accused the Bank of China of offering a money laundering service to wealthy people in China to facilitate the removal of funds from China for immigration purposes in violation of the country’s currency restriction laws.

Citizens of China are only permitted to exchange up to $50,000 per year and remove it from China. According to the report, the Bank of China teamed up with immigration consultants allegedly to pitch for the money laundering services as part of several investor immigration programs targeted at wealthy people from China. The money laundering services apparently included helping clients disguise the origin of the funds.

According to the report, a Bank of China employee is alleged to have said: “We don’t care where your money is from or how you earn it, we can help you get it out of the country. We don’t care how black your money is or how dirty it is, we will find ways to launder it and shift it overseas for you.”

The Guangdong branch of the Bank of China allegedly informed a journalist that it had moved HK$7.5 billion from China so far in 2014.

A Swiss banker was quoted in the report as saying that it is an open secret that all banks in China and Hong Kong provide money laundering services for immigration purposes.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a few days ago, Liu Yunshan, one of China’s most powerful government officials, asked the government to address the problem of what is known in China as “naked officials” – officials whose families have moved overseas with vast sums of money from China. A Reuters news report says that the Bank of China in 2008 noted that up to 18,000 naked officials, mostly party officials, have removed US$133 billion from China.

The Wall Street Journal story noted that wealthy Chinese are moving to Canada and the US under investor immigration programs. And this report from CNN also says that proceeds of crime (the illegal removal of funds from China without permission) is destined for Canada, the US and Australia under their immigration programs.

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