Dec 18 2012, 12:16am CST | by Luigi Lugmayr
Madrid, Dec 18 (IANS/EFE) .- The money laundering network allegedly headed by Chinese national Gao Ping facilitated its operations with bribes to customs agents in Spain and politicians in China, Spanish police say.
EFE gained access to a May 2012 police report on "Operation Emperor" that included transcripts of intercepted telephone conversations among the suspects.
In a conversation involving Wei Lin, who is considered to be one of Gao's lieutenants, the parties refer to customs workers and show, police say, "that the purchasing of favours is and has been a habitual practice in the recent past" in their commercial operations.
The criminal outfit also bribed Chinese officials, according to what was gleaned from another conversation between a man of Chinese origin and Gao.
In that conversation, the man asks Gao to contact politicians in the province of Guang Xi so that they would give the "green light" for a real estate project, in exchange for which he offered Gao part of the stock in the venture.
Gao answers that he will help the man find the "proper politician" because he knows "many in the area".
A Spanish judge Nov 29 ordered the release from jail of Gao and 11 other suspects due to a judicial error in extending the time they were under arrest.
The 12 suspects were ordered to surrender their passports and check-in with the court daily in person.
Operation Emperor lasted two years and is one of the largest dealing with laundering of assets and fiscal crime ever carried out in Spain.
Among those arrested are public officials, businessmen, politicians and even a well-known Spanish porn actor.
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