Chinese officials stole $120 billion, fled mainly to US

A person handling Chinese yuan bills The stolen funds were allegedly smuggled out of China between the mid-1990s and 2008

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Thousands of corrupt Chinese government officials have stolen more than $120bn (£74bn) and fled overseas, mainly to the US, according to a report released by China's central bank.

Between 16,000 and 18,000 officials and employees of state-owned companies left China with the funds from the mid-1990s up until 2008.

The officials used offshore bank accounts to smuggle the funds, according to the study posted on the People's Bank of China website this week but which has since been removed.

It said the officials smuggled about 800 billion yuan into the US, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands through offshore bank accounts or investments, like property or collectables.

The stolen funds were covered up by disguising them as business transactions by establishing private companies to receive the money transfers.

The study said corruption inside China was severe enough to threaten the nation's economic and political stability.

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