Beijing closely following Chinese bank probe in Spain

Beijing, Feb 19 (IANS) China was closely following a probe into the Madrid branch of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, or ICBC, over alleged money laundering by Chinese mafia groups which has seen six arrests so far.

Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Haizing received the charge d’affaires of the Spanish embassy in Beijing, Jose Luis Garcia Galan, to express his concern and to ask for the case to be dealt with “justly and according to law,” Efe news agency cited a statement issued by the Beijing ministry as saying on Thursday.

Spanish diplomatic sources in Beijing confirmed the meeting which was held on the capital’s request, and which, they said, was cordial and constructive.

The official note also indicated Liu asked the Spanish side to ensure respect for “the legal rights and interests of Chinese organisations and personnel” in their country and safeguard healthy bilateral relations between the two nations.

The meeting concluded with the Spanish side expressing its commitment to investigate the case within the legal framework and without letting the countries’ bilateral relations get affected.

On Wednesday, officers of the Spanish Civil Guard raided the Madrid branch of ICBC while probing an alleged case of money laundering, and arrested five executives, including the director general.

The first director of the ICBC Madrid office, currently Europe deputy director of the bank, was also arrested Friday, sources close to the investigation said.

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