China seeks repatriation of bankers

May 19, 2009 at 9:58 PM

BEIJING, May 19 (UPI) -- China is seeking the return of two former Bank of China managers and their wives, who were sentenced in the United States in a $482 million racketeering case.

Speaking to reporters in Beijing Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu welcomed the ruling by a Las Vegas U.S. federal court earlier this month which sentenced Xu Chaofan and Xu Guojun and their wives, Xinhua reported.

Ma also sought U.S. help in the repatriation or extradition of the four and recovering the money stolen by them, the report said.

The four reportedly had enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle for years until the bank discovered the missing funds which had grown to $482 million.

The four were sentenced on racketeering, money laundering and other charges.

Prosecutors said the men laundered stolen money through Hong Kong, Canada and the United States, Xinhua reported.

Xu Chaofan was sentenced to 25 years and Xu Guojun to 22 years. The wives were each sentenced to eight years in prison. All four were also ordered to pay $482 million in restitution.

"Their conviction and sentencing in the United States was another positive result of China-U.S law-enforcement cooperation," the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

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