Sweden has extradited to the United States a Chinese national accused of laundering several million dollars, announced Tuesday his Swedish lawyer, a year after the rejection of his extradition to China where he is accused of embezzlement.
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According to American justice, Qiao Jianjun laundered "millions of dollars of products linked to fraudulent transactions through banks in China, Hong Kong and Singapore" when he was an executive of the state administration of grain in China - a post he held between 1998 and 2011. Part of the money would have been used to buy two properties near Los Angeles, the Justice Department said in a statement. He is also charged with immigration fraud.
Contacted by AFP, the Swedish lawyer Henrik Olsson Lilja explained on Tuesday that his client was extradited last Friday to the United States, where he has regularly resided since his departure from China in 2011, before settling in Austria then Sweden. Qiao Jianjun disputes the money laundering charges brought against him. In July 2019, the Swedish Supreme Court had rejected a request for extradition to China of this Chinese national accused there of embezzlement of public funds, on the grounds that he risked torture and capital punishment there.
200 million yuan
In China, Qiao Jianjun is suspected by the courts of Henan province (center) of embezzling up to 200 million yuan (26 million euros) between 2008 and 2011, according to documents submitted by the Chinese authorities to the Swedish Chancellery. At the time, he said he disputed accusations of embezzlement targeting him and claimed to have been in Beijing's sights since joining the banned Chinese Democratic Party in 2010.
If the Supreme Court of the Scandinavian country considered that there were serious charges against him, "his extradition can (may) take place (...) because of the risk of persecution due to his political activities and contrary treatment to the European Convention on Human Rights ” . According to his lawyer, the Swedish authorities "have not approved China's (extradition) request but in the United States, he is suspected of money laundering on the basis of alleged crimes committed in China" , a- he stormed Tuesday. And to continue: "this will be judged in the United States during a trial and they will, hopefully, require better evidence than that of the Chinese authorities who simply say that these are illicit funds" .
In Sweden, the extradition of foreign nationals is the responsibility of the government, but the government is obliged to follow the decisions of the Supreme Court. Qiao Jianjun was arrested and detained in Sweden in June 2018 at the request of the Chinese justice. Released on June 19, 2019, he was arrested again a week later in another proceeding launched by the United States.