Ao Man Long was elected as Macau’s first Secretary for Transport and Public Works back in 2004 and was on a salary of MOP14 million. The Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) had investigated Long’s activities as authorities had suspected him of abusing his power, receiving bribes, handing out lucrative public contracts and engaging in money laundering.
Long was arrested in 2006 and convicted in three trials that occurred in 2008, 2009 and 2012 and during this time authorities revealed that Long had accumulated assets and cash that amounted to MOP800 million and most of the money was stashed away overseas. A lengthy investigation followed and United Kingdom authorities recently confirmed that they were in the process of transferring MOP350 million to the Macau government.
Authorities in the UK seized these illicit funds and also sold one of Long’s properties in the country. Long had hid MOP275 million in fake accounts in the UK and the authorities had frozen these accounts and withdrawn emptied them in order to transfer all funds back to Macau. Caroline Wilson, the UK consul general to Hong Kong and Macau had a meeting in the government’s headquarters and met with Sonia Chan, the Secretary for Administration and Justice and signed an agreement to proceed with the transfer.
In a statement, Chan said “It is commonly known that executing a court’s order for the confiscation of corruption proceeds abroad is a difficult area in law enforcement. The British government returning the confiscated assets is indeed an exemplary case of the successful implementation of the UNCAC [United Nations Convention Against Corruption]. It is significantly meaningful in terms of combating money laundering abroad, fighting crimes and upholding justice.”
The UK consul stated that once the transfer for MOP350 million was completed, it would be completely up to the discretion of the Macau government on how they want to spend the funds. Chan stated that the government plans to utilize the funds to benefit the people of Macau and the entire sum will be deposited into the public fund of the MSAR.
The authorities also questioned Wilson on the whereabouts of Long’s wife Camila Chan who is suspected to be hiding in the UK with her two children. She was tried in absentia in Macau and sentenced to up to four years in prison for being involved in Money laundering. Wilson told the authorities that as of now they do not have any information about the whereabouts of Mrs. Chan.
The UK set up an international corruption unit in the national crime agency earlier this year and according to Wilson it has made a significant impact in investigating international cases of corruption.