China nostra

From: The Economist

In Italy and Spain, Chinese banks are implicated in money-laundering

WHEN Liu Wang, the European head of the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), opened its branch in Madrid in 2011, he probably did not imagine that he would one day return to the city as a prisoner. Yet on February 19th Mr Wang was arrested and jailed without bail. He is one of six of the bank’s executives accused of funnelling dubious cash deposited by Chinese expatriates back to China. Some of the money allegedly came from smuggling and illegal exploitation of workers. ICBC said it always respected the law, and threatened to sue “malicious slanderers”.


That sort of money inevitably attracts other types of criminal organisations. Already, in 2003, American researchers found evidence of Chinese gangs in southern Europe involved in extortion, prostitution, document forgery, cigarette smuggling and illegal gambling. The same report said Chinese criminals in Naples appeared to have a deal with the local mafia, the Camorra. But later investigations, surprisingly, have uncovered few proven links to Italian organised crime. And how much of a role Chinese mobsters still play is unclear.

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