Party Officials Launch Property Fire Sale

While Xi Jinping’s increasingly strong anti-corruption rhetoric has met with some skepticism, it seems that some of its targets are taking it seriously. The Telegraph’s Malcolm Moore describes a Central Commission for Discipline Inspection report on officials’ frenzied efforts to ditch ill-gotten properties and find homes abroad to which they might escape.

“They never register the houses in their own names and they use a string of agents to do the deals,” said Mr Fu. He said one company had bribed an official by buying him a property at the Mountain Water International Complex. “The property was put in the name of the official’s relative. After six months, it was sold for two million yuan (£200,000), around the same amount it cost. Then the official could cash out.
[…] Marco Pearman-Parish at Corporation China, a company in Beijing that helps clients find properties abroad, said there had been a strong rise in clients looking for homes in the Cayman Islands.
“In Beijing, half our clients are government officials,” he said. “Nine out of ten claim to be businessmen, but it emerges over the course of the deal that they have government jobs. What they are looking for is resident permits abroad so that if anything happens they can escape easily.”

Neither the anti-corruption speeches nor the escape artistry began with Xi’s appointment in November. According to the Commission report, Moore writes, as much as U.S. $1 trillion was smuggled out of China last year—though this figure is disputed—while 714 officials made successful getaways during the October National Day holidays alone.

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