Italy seeks indictment of nearly 300 in Bank of China money-laundering scheme

Prosecutors say the bank helped launder up to $5.1 billion earned through prostitution, counterfeiting, tax evasion and labor exploitation.
By Fred Lambert Contact the Author   |  June 21, 2015 at 8:31 PM
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MILAN, Italy, June 21 (UPI) -- Italy is seeking to indict nearly 300 people in a money-laundering scheme involving the Bank of China's Milan branch, according to reports.

Prosecutors accuse the bank and 297 individuals of transferring from Italy to China up to $5.1 billion earned through prostitution, counterfeiting, tax evasion and labor exploitation, the BBC reports.

Up to half of the funds went through the bank's Milan branch between 2007 and 2010, reportedly netting it more than $120,000 in commission for the transfers. Four senior managers with the bank could be charged, according to Italian media.

A judge is deciding whether the individuals and the bank will face trial. The Bank of China and the Chinese government have yet to respond to the allegations.

After a fire in a Chinese-owned garment factory in Prato, Italy, killed seven people in 2013, the regional governor of Tuscany said Chinese organized crime was linked to workshops where hundreds were "living and working in conditions of near-slavery."

In 2010 Italian authorities arrested dozens in connection with a money-laundering operation involving nearly 100 businesses that reportedly funneled $3.4 billion in illegal gains from Italy to China.

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