China is swiftly becoming a major global financial center, with a rapidly growing economy and increased integration in the international market.
The primary sources of criminal proceeds are corruption, narcotics and human trafficking, smuggling, economic crimes, intellectual property theft, counterfeit goods, crimes against property, and tax evasion. Money is generally laundered through bulk cash smuggling, trade-based fraud (over/under pricing of goods, falsified bills of lading and customs declarations, counterfeit import/export contracts), real estate, and both the formal and underground banking systems.
Most money laundering cases currently under investigation involve funds obtained from corruption and bribery. Proceeds of tax evasion, recycled through offshore companies, often return to China disguised as foreign investment and, as such, receive tax benefits. Chinese officials have noted that most acts of corruption in China are closely related to economic activities that accompany illegal money transfers.
Chinese authorities have observed that the increase in AML efforts by banks has been accompanied by increased laundering through the underground banking system and trade fraud. Value transfer via trade goods, including barter exchange, is a common component in Chinese underground finance. Many Chinese underground trading networks in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas participate in the trade of Chinese-manufactured counterfeit goods.
China is not a major offshore financial center. China has multiple Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and other designated development zones at the national, regional, and local levels. SEZs include Shenzhen, Shantou, Zhuhai, Xiamen, and Hainan, along with 14 coastal cities and over 100 designated development zones.
KNOW-YOUR-CUSTOMER (KYC) RULES:
Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs:
A PEP is an abbreviation for Politically Exposed Person, a term that describes a person who has been entrusted with a prominent public function, or an individual who is closely related to such a person. The terms PEP, Politically Exposed Person and Senior Foreign Political Figure are often used interchangeably
- Foreign PEP: YES
- Domestic PEP: YES
China – KYC covered entities
The following is a list of Know Your Customer entities covered by Chinese Law:
- Securities dealers
- Insurance companies
China – Suspicious Transaction Reporting (STR) Requirements:
Number of STRs received and time frame: 61,852,018 in 2010
The following is a list of STR covered entities covered by Chinese Law:
- Securities dealers
- Insurance companies
MONEY LAUNDERING CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS/CONVICTIONS:
Prosecutions: Not available
Convictions: 11,456 in 2010
ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES AND COMMENTS:
In 2011, the Government of China (GOC) adopted special legislation that defines the legal scope of “terrorist activities” related to the crime of terrorist financing (among other crimes) and provides the legal basis for the establishment of a national, interagency terrorist asset freezing body that, if robustly implemented, should bring China into greater compliance with the requirements of UNSCRs 1267 and 1373.
The GOC should strengthen AML/CFT enforcement efforts to keep pace with the sophistication and reach of criminal and terrorist networks. Although mandatory, the courts do not systematically pursue the confiscation of criminal proceeds, which undermines any disincentive to commit the crime. The GOC should ensure that all courts are aware of and uniformly implement the mandatory confiscation laws. China also should enhance coordination among its financial regulators and law enforcement bodies to better investigate and prosecute offenders. China‘s Ministry of Public Security should continue ongoing efforts to develop a better understanding of how AML/CFT tools can be used to support the investigation and prosecution of a wide range of criminal activity.
U.S. law enforcement agencies note that the GOC has not cooperated sufficiently on financial investigations and does not provide adequate responses to requests for financial investigation information. In addition to the lack of law enforcement based cooperation, the GOC‘s inability to enforce U.S. court orders or judgments obtained as a result of non-conviction based forfeiture actions against China-based assets remains a significant barrier to enhanced U.S. – China cooperation in asset freezing and confiscation.
The GOC should expand cooperation with counterparts in the United States and other countries, and pursue international linkages in AML/CFT efforts more aggressively. U.S. agencies consistently seek to expand cooperation with Chinese counterparts on AML/CFT matters and to strengthen both policy- and operational-level cooperation in this critical area. While China continues to make significant improvements to its AML/CFT legal and regulatory framework and is gradually making progress toward meeting the international standards, implementation, particularly in the context of international cooperation, remains lacking.