Asia-Pacific nations set to endorse anti-graft deal: Wall Street Journal

BEIJING (Reuters) - Countries in the Asia-Pacific region are set to endorse a plan for a China-based information-sharing network to combat corruption, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Thursday.

The network, known as Act-Net, will be based at the training arm of the ruling Communist Party's top anti-graft body, which has the power to imprison and investigate party officials without charge, the United States newspaper reported.

It did not seem that members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation grouping plan to challenge China's bid to host the anti-graft network, whose initial mandate will run through 2015, the WSJ said.

China's President Xi Jinping has sought to widen his far-reaching anti-corruption campaign to suspects who have fled abroad, particularly those who have taken their ill-gotten gains with them. A draft declaration, seen by the newspaper, says the network will use extradition, mutual legal assistance, and the recovery and return of proceeds of corruption as the means to tackle graft across borders.

Western governments have balked at setting up extradition deals because torture is often used by Chinese legal authorities to extract confessions and capital punishment is widely meted out for crimes, including corruption.

Act-Net will ease the flow of information between law enforcement agencies, but it will not be a regional version of Interpol, people familiar with the matter told the WSJ.

China has extradition treaties with 38 countries, but not the United States, Canada or Australia - the three most popular destinations for suspected economic criminals, according to state media.

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