China Confiscates Billions In "Ugliest Corruption Scandal" In History

Tyler Durden's picture

With Chinese authorities increasingly looking like they are sticking to their reform promises, fighting moral hazard and allowing defaults to occur (in a completely 'contained' way, of course); the continued crackdown on graft and government corruption has hit a new high (or low). As Reuters reports, Chinese authorities have seized assets worth at least 90 billion yuan ($14.5 billion) from family members and associates of retired domestic security tsar Zhou Yongkang, who is at the center of China's biggest corruption scandal in more than six decades. 71-year-old Zhou has been under house arrest since first being investigated late last year but the size and scale of the corruption is unprecedented including 300 apartments, 60 vehicles, bonds, stocks, and gold - "it's the ugliest in the history of the New China."


Via Reuters,

More than 300 of Zhou's relatives, political allies, proteges and staff have also been taken into custody or questioned in the past four months, the sources, who have been briefed on the investigation, told Reuters.


The sheer size of the asset seizures and the scale of the investigations into the people around Zhou - both unreported until now - make the corruption probe unprecedented in modern China and would appear to show that President Xi Jinping is tackling graft at the highest levels.




Zhou, 71, has been under virtual house arrest since authorities began formally investigating him late last year. He is the most senior Chinese politician to be ensnared in a corruption investigation since the Communist Party swept to power in 1949.


"It's the ugliest in the history of the New China," said one of the sources, who has ties to the leadership, requesting anonymity to avoid repercussions for speaking to the foreign media about elite politics.

However, some suggest it's just politics...

But it may also be driven partly by political payback after Zhou angered leaders such as Xi by opposing the ouster of former high-flying politician Bo Xilai, who was jailed for life in September for corruption and abuse of power.


"Zhou Yongkang is tough and claims its political persecution," the source said.

But the confiscations are widespread...

The first two sources said prosecutors and the party's anti-corruption watchdog had frozen bank accounts with deposits totaling 37 billion yuan and seized domestic and overseas bonds and stocks with a combined value of 51 billion yuan after raiding homes in Beijing, Shanghai and five provinces.


Investigators had also confiscated about 300 apartments and villas worth around 1.7 billion yuan, antiques and contemporary paintings with a market value of 1 billion yuan and more than 60 vehicles, the sources added. Other items seized included expensive liquor, gold, silver and cash in local and foreign currencies.




The first two sources added that more than 10 of Zhou's relatives had been detained. They included Zhou's one-time television reporter wife Jia Xiaoye, his eldest son from a previous marriage Zhou Bin, Zhou Bin's in-laws and Zhou Yongkang's brother.


About 10 officials who held a rank equivalent to at least vice minister were also under investigation, the sources said.


More than 20 of Zhou's bodyguards, secretaries and drivers had also been detained, the sources said. Many other family members and associates had been questioned.

But Xi has a problem with his next steps...

Since becoming head of the party in late 2012 and then president a year ago, Xi has vowed to go after both powerful "tigers" and lowly "flies" in an effort to crack down on the corruption he says threatens the party's very existence.


But Xi is in a dilemma over whether to put Zhou on trial lest it further undermine public faith in the party, the three sources said, referring to the growing disillusionment in China over rampant graft and abuse of power.

While the following cartoon may have summed up most people's attitudes to the corruption probes - especially in light of the ease of washing money out o fthe country that we explained here...


It seems with the confiscations this weekend, Xi is sending a rather loud signal to his political frenemies.

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Ralph Spoilsport's picture

Don't know if the story is legit or not, but Exif data can be changed:

"GeoSetter is a freeware tool for Windows (XP or higher) for showing and changing geo data and other metadata (IPTC/XMP/Exif) of image files (e.g. images taken by digital cameras)."

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I have been saying for years here at ZH that we do need to worry about the BRICs doing us in.  China & Russia?  No threat to us.

If/when America falls, it will be due to our own internal rot.

kchrisc's picture

The enemy is here and now, shits on the Constitution, claims the right to kill indiscriminately, annihilates with drones and has NDAA. All else to the contrary is a lie and distraction.

Lore's picture

Some of the stuff floated after 911 was at least as shocking (passengers being machine-gunned, etc.).  Getting caught in lies is key, and we have certainly seen that.  Once you realize how freely these people lie, anything becomes plausible and any hope of maintaining moral high ground is lost.  It's a necessary step on the path to complete collapse.  I've experienced it on a small scale. Nothing gets better until the psychopath or psychopaths are removed from their positions of influence. On a grand scale, that promises to be a costly, messy affair.

NoDebt's picture

Zhou did his thing under the PREVIOUS regime.  They knew about it all along.  Your don't steal/extort BILLIONS  on a $600/month salary without somebody knowing about it.

Crackdown on corruption?  Only insosfar as they are stealing it back from somebody who stole it under the previous regime.  

The game continues, uninterrupted, just with new players.

Lore's picture

What you say is true to a point, except that corruption is like infection: there comes a time when it overcomes the host. There's an old saying: "Not only must justice be done; it must be seen to be done."  In the current "TBTF" environment, there ain't no justice: there is only corruption. When's the last time you saw meaningful penalty for the largest scale organized crime, i.e., the major banks and central banks?  The immune system is compromised by corruption at its core.  The only outcome left is death of the host.  The sooner that is allowed to happen, the less difficult will be the cleanup.  It will be important to root out the psychopathic infection so it does not recur. In that regard, there is scuttlebutt that some group or groups plan Nuremberg-style public trials, with meaningful consequences.

Consider printing that article about the cell phone for posterity.

Rock On Roger's picture

They'll eventually find a couple of pieces of the plane,

But no bodies. Or flight recorder.

Maybe when China/India/Iran/Russia over runs Diego Garcia,

We'll find out what gives.

American Shenanigans.

Used up the Ukrainian gold, needed more gold to short.

Special cargo.

Done the plane thing before. No problem.

Use CNN to get the program straight.

Sleep sheeple, sleep.

Nothing to see here.

Move along.

Hopin' for a change.


Stack On

jeff montanye's picture

this is way beyond my non-existent technical skills but sounded interesting (from comments on the link):

Whikle those coordinates may correspond with a building on Diego Garcia, it’s criminally simple to edit any image’s EXIF data to reflect any GPS coordinates you want with free tools that are available on the web. So, those coordinates being in this image proves absolutely nothing. The author went far out on a limb when he claims


“Obviously I cannot confirm this 100 percent as real, but I do know that exif can’t be rewritten with common software, it can only be either completely removed or added to on some of the lines, such as image credits, with some applications and that photos with the exif intact will hold up in court because the other data fields cannot be edited, they can only be erased.. If the Exif is hacked and this is not real, the CIA or a really good hacker did this, which I doubt, I’d say it’s probably real.”


He later adds: “That means this image has NOT been re-tagged and that is the FIRST THING I checked before posting this story. And NO, YOU CANNOT MODIFY IT WITH A PROGRAMMING EDITOR UNLESS YOU ARE A MACHINE LANGUAGE GENIUS. Open notepad (which is a basic programming editor). Drag the photo into notepad. it will open as code. The Exif is all machine code. This is the NSA type hack I talked about, unless the NSA or a serious hacker wanted to do this, the photo is legit.”


I don’t know anyone in the know that would open an image in Notepad, since it is a TEXT EDITOR, it opens everything as text, which is what the underlying file format of an image is. However, if you use an EXIF Editor, the image is opened showing a preview of the image along with all of the associated EXIF tags in an easy to edit format. There is no stamp of any kind added to the image that shows that you have made an edit. You simply click on the tag, change it to what you want and then save it and the change is made. I could take any image anyone wants to post here and do the edits in 1 minute.


This does nto require NSA or CIA level hacking skills and anyone that claims it does has lost major credibility right off the bat. After making that completely uninformed statement, anything that person says I’d have to take with a serious grain of salt.


I’d love to know that these folks were safe and alive being held hostage somewhere. BUT there is absolutely nothing in the original image, the plebs forum post or this article that makes any kind of credible case that this is a fact. In fact, given all the loose ends, it’s easy for me to conclude that this is a hoax and people shouldn’t waste any further energy on this and begin trying to find real leads that can be followed to prove the the theory.


DrunkenMonkey's picture

LOL to the max.

a) Iphone batteries last about an hour, less if they're constantly searching for a network to use.
b) how do you fit an iphone in your 'ass' ?
c) mu-hahahahah

Lore's picture

Wish more people took this kind of approach to the supposed "consensus" of Man-Made Global Warming. 

Mark Urbo's picture

O-Hole is killing this country.

Antifaschistische's picture

just wait for those 300 apartments to go on liquidation sale...that will make the Chinese people really happy.  Particularly the those who own the 2,000 other apartments in the same neighborhood.

Son of Loki's picture

I always wondered how a Chinese Gubmint offical paid a salary of $600/month can buy two dozen $500k apartments in Beijing and Shanghai?  Where do they get the money?


I wonder if they will ever krack down on all those Cali McMansions paid for with The Peasant's money?

RafterManFMJ's picture

Liquidation sale! Nicely played!

Bluebear's picture

Why would the BRICs wish to do the US in?  They probably just want to be left alone...

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I agree.  But, the "Other Powers" always resent the Top Dog.  It's political nature.  Yet, resentment is a killer.

TheReplacement's picture

Human nature leads to consolidation.  We started with families, then bands, tribes, nationalities, countries, alliances, continentals, world.  Those in power will always try for more.  Power will be consolidated... to some tipping point or epoch whereby civilization is reset, lost, or evolves.  Considering the filthy nature behind our consolidation I doubt it will evolve.  Still, we have to get up in the morning.

Bluebear's picture

The typical BRIC is a giagantic landmass filled with tons of internal problems to solve... their leaders probably don't lose sleep over how to do the US in... the idea that the US being top dog invites resentment is just a few steps removed from the idea that "they hate us for our freedoms"... 

The reason why the BRICs are pissed with the US is because the US does not mind its own business and is always seeking to meddle with other people's affairs in order to remain top dog. Any desire to see the US fall more likely stems from that rather than the US merely being top dog...

sessinpo's picture

DoChenRollingBearing           we do need to worry about the BRICs doing us in.  China & Russia? If/when America falls, it will be due to our own internal rot.


I do not disagree with you but suggest you think of what you say. In other words, would we NOT have to worry about BRICS if we did not  have our own internal rot?

If so, then it is not the BRICS we need to worry about. They are a symptom of the real problem. The cause is our internal rot and that is what we need to worry about.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I did not write the post well.

Missed the NOT worry about the BRICs.

barliman's picture


Oh good ...

... someone hacks & spoofs an iPhone5 and a new outbreak of crazy begins.

booboo's picture

On the bright side he made a few pennies on the bullet they are most likely going to put in the back of his head, the bad news is that the family will be sent the bill for the bullet so it's a wash, he's got that going for him.

Leraconteur's picture

That's out of fashion. Now the local PSB must shell out several hundred USD for the drugs and lethal injection. They complain that it's too expensive vs. bullets.

Neo's picture

Changing meta data inside an image or any documents which contains "identtifying" data is a trivial matter. No amount of certainty can be had from the xiif data on that image.

Freddie's picture

$14.5 billion seized from just one family!   Those are big dollars.  

Free John Corzine!

sessinpo's picture

Um, Corzine is free and he might be set up to run MYRA to steal more money from America. Don't Cha Know?

ZeroPoint's picture

How much are you paid to post distractions?

robertocarlos's picture

How are any Chinese commies millionaires, never mind billionaires?

Skateboarder's picture

By owning a lot of people who make cheap plastic shit that you buy.

nmewn's picture

All perfectly legal by the way.

(All governments are a monopoly or sumpin)

The Wisp's picture

And you can rest assure None of those Billions were being used in Shadow Banking..  everyone is safe. Whew that was Close oh wait.

sessinpo's picture

robertocarlos    How are any Chinese commies millionaires, never mind billionaires?


Which society in the last 1000 years never had the elite? Those that would be the ultra rich during their time?

Answer: ZERO

So why would you think that just because they are commies there aren't ogliarchs there?

Do you realize that Putin is an Ogliarch worth over a billion and in control of the Russian government?

Don't you realize that there is corruption no matter what social or economic system is used?

The Shootist's picture

I thought the US had the House of Cards.

Richard Chesler's picture

He is not richer than Jamie.


smacker's picture

I expect Zhou Yongkang to be handed a nail gun and shown how to use it.

toys for tits's picture

His family will have to pay for the nail.

AbbeBrel's picture

<< Many different kinds of nails are used in manufacturing and carpentry. A finishing nail, made of steel wire, is a specific nail used to hide the presence of the nail. With its small head and diameter, a finishing nail is much tinier and easier to hide than a larger nail. >>


Amazingly good (subtle) joke, even for ZH.  Go K.*s

PacOps's picture

Never be late or short on your payoffs!

disabledvet's picture

might want to forget the whole Patriotism thingy too.

"the smart money burned the flag."
Is it Wang or Wong sir? "you'll have to get in line either way."

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

You don't want a bad FUKU score.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

The Western economic culture contagion continues it's move Eastward...

But one thing you can say at least for the Chinese government, if this Yongkang is not acquitted on these charges at least they will swing him from a rope to set an example unlike the U.S.

TheReplacement's picture

Oh come off it already.  The Chinese are human.  They have corruption just as bad as anyone else.  They have good people just like other races and nationalities.  Quit acting like the world would be just peachy perfect if only there had never been a west. 

Newfie's picture

Darn it! Where am I going to get my Foakly sunglasses now?

FieldingMellish's picture

Gold!? But.. but... that's a barbarous relic!