A Chinese national who allegedly cashed in a letter of credit (L/C) but failed to meet his contractual obligations associated with it has been repatriated to China from Australia according to China's ministry of public security.

It says that the suspect, surnamed Liu by the ministry, has been on the run for nearly two decades and that his repatriation is the result of many years' cooperation between Chinese and Australian police.

He is the first suspected financial criminal to be repatriated to China from Australia, a process that was organised with the assistance of the Chinese embassy in Canberra and the consulate general in Sydney.

Contract fraud

Liu has been outside China for more than 18 years since July 2001 when his company allegedly signed a contract with another company agreeing to transfer money for that company.

The suspect received an L/C to cover the payment and allegedly cashed it at a bank in Sydney. But Liu did not arrange the transfer of funds to the other company, causing it to lose the equivalent of around US$522,000.

Police cooperation

Accusations of contract fraud lodged with Chinese police prompted Liu to take refuge in Australia.

Chinese investigators however maintained close communication with Australian law enforcement agencies and urged Australian police to investigate Liu.

No sanctuaries

China's ministry of public security said foreign countries are not sanctuaries for criminals and the repatriation of Liu demonstrated its determination to pursue criminals.

It urged other fugitives abroad to return to China to surrender themselves to the authorities.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.