Man sought in China graft probe to get rehearing before Canada refugee board

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 17, 2015 3:54 PM

TORONTO (Reuters) - A businessman on China's most-wanted list of people accused of corruption has won the right to a rehearing before the Canadian refugee board that could keep him from being deported.

Cheng Muyang, known in Vancouver as developer Michael Ching, asked a judge to review a November ruling by the Canadian refugee board that denied him protection.

This week, Justice Yvan Roy sided with Ching and sent the case back to the refugee board, according to a copy of the judge's decision issued by the Federal Court.

In April, China's Interpol office released the names of 100 people wanted in its "Sky Net" anti-graft campaign.

The list included Ching, son of a once high-ranking Chinese official removed from office for graft in 2003.

Ching's lawyer, David Matas, said that at the refugee protection claim rehearing, the Canadian government might continue to argue for his client's exclusion based on the criminal case against him, or simply say he is not a refugee.

"They can also cease to participate in the refugee protection hearing and leave the Refugee Protection Division on its own to make the refugee determination," Matas said in an email, adding that it would be several months before the case proceeds.

Matas has said the allegations centered on a 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) sale of a Beijing property to the province of Hebei, where Ching's father was a top official.

Matas said there was no evidence other than testimony obtained by torture and that China's Communist party was trying to get to Ching's father.

Part of the evidence Chinese courts heard earlier was of a 2.8 million yuan payment to Ching from the property sale's broker. The refugee board did not see the evidence and relied on a description from the Chinese court.

Ching told the board last year that the payment related to other transactions.

Matas, who represents three Chinese expatriates facing corruption charges and possible deportation, has said Canada is naive in its response to Beijing.

(Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)