Two new cases of officials using fake identities to hide ill-gotten wealth
Two new cases of mainland officials hiding their ownership of properties have added to widespread public concern about illicit property purchases by corrupt cadres.
Following last month's revelation that a banker in Shaanxi bought 41 properties in Beijing using fake identities, reports surfaced yesterday that two more officials – one connected to the same bank – concealed property purchases.
An anti-corruption official in Heilongjiang allegedly bought more than 15 properties, registered them in his wife's name, and then entered into a fake divorce to hide ill-gotten wealth.
A senior banker at the Rural Commercial Bank in Shenmu county, Shaanxi province, allegedly colluded in his wife's purchase of at least 12 properties in Beijing using three different identities.
Ren Jianming, deputy head of the Chinese chapter of Transparency International, a global anti-graft advocacy group, said there were various ways for officials to hide their wealth and that buying property had been the most popular method in recent years, because of the booming real estate market.
He said corrupt officials had already figured out ways to get around an impending national housing database.
"Corrupt officials have to use different measures, such as different hukou [household registration], to hide their personal information and wealth," Ren said.
Zhang Xiuting a political commissar for the Anti-corruption Bureau in Mudanjiang's Xian district, is facing investigation after reports said he had amassed assets beyond the scope of his modest salary, Xinhua reported on its Sina Weibo microblog yesterday.
Zhang and his ex-wife reportedly owned property and ran a luxury club in the city, Southern Metropolis Daily reported yesterday, citing interviews with anonymous local sources who said the couple entered into a fakedivorce in order to conceal theirill-gotten wealth.