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Bank of China in 'crime cash' probe

Published 21/06/2015

The Bank of China is at the centre of an Italian money laundering probe
The Bank of China is at the centre of an Italian money laundering probe

Italian prosecutors are seeking to indict 297 people and the Bank of China in connection with a massive money-laundering investigation.

The suspects include four senior managers of the Chinese state bank's branch in Milan and according to prosecutors, at least some used Mafia-like techniques, including intimidation, ANSA news agency reported.

Earlier this month police in Florence discovered that more than 4.5 billion euros (£3.2bn) in proceeds from counterfeiting, prostitution, labour exploitation and tax evasion had been sent to China in less than four years using a money-transfer service.

Nearly half that money was funnelled through the Bank of China, which in turn earned a commission, according to Italian investigative documents.

Investigators said they got nowhere when they tried to appeal to Chinese authorities for help. Once the money left Italy, it vanished behind China's great legal firewall.

Under Italy's justice system, a judge will consider the prosecutor's request and either order a trial or throw out the case. The judge's evaluation could take months before a decision is made.

In Italy, institutions as well as individuals can be ordered to stand trial.

Prosecutors say the Bank of China did not signal to authorities suspicious banking transactions, according to ANSA.

The case involves operations carried out during the period from 2007-2010.

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