China asks Ottawa to extradite embezzling suspect
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Monday, January 29, 2007 7:49AM EST
China has requested Canada extradite a fugitive bank manager who is accused of embezzling $150 million from customers, according to a newspaper report.
The Globe and Mail reports that Gao Shan, former head of the Bank of China in Harbin, is alleged to have siphoned off huge sums.
China's Minister of Public Security has asked Ottawa to arrest and deport Gao, according to a report by the state-controlled Xinhua News Agency.
Now 42, he is alleged to have transferred the money illegally to an account in Canada.
Gao disappeared from China in 2005 after his customers reported the losses.
But Chinese authorities did not confirm his location until now.
According to a report in Beijing Daily, Gao and another suspect are currently under the surveillance of Canadian police.
However, Canadian officials have not confirmed or denied the extradition request.
The extradition request could further test frayed relations between Ottawa and Beijing.
China has been expressing concern over several cases of accused criminals who have fled to Canada.
Chinese officials are infuriated with Ottawa over its failure to deport Lai Chang-xing, who has been described by the official Xinhua news agency as "China's most wanted fugitive."
Lai, who is accused of smuggling, fled to Canada in 1999 and has sought refugee status.
In another case, two Bank of China employees travelled to Vancouver after allegedly stealing $570 million from a southern Chinese branch in 2001.
In yet another case, Chinese citizen Ang Li flew home in 2002 after his girlfriend Amanda Zhao was killed in a Vancouver suburb.
While he has been charged with murder after an RCMP probe, Beijing has turned down requests to send him back.
Ottawa does not have an extradition treaty with Beijing -- chiefly because of concerns that a suspect could be executed after being deported to China.
Relations with China become icy in recent months after Prime Minister Stephen Harper publicly criticized China's human rights record, saying Canada wouldn't sell out "to the almighty dollar."
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and International Trade Minister David Emerson travelled to Beijing earlier this month as part of an effort to rebuild economic ties and mend frayed relations.
Observers have said the government is pursuing a strategy in which Harper reserves the right to criticize Beijing's human-rights record while leaving his economic ministers to talk business.