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Gilbert Chikli was rolling in money, stolen from some of the world's biggest corporations.American Express. In less than two years, he made off with at least 6.1 million euros from France alone. A visionary con man, Chikli realized early on – around 2000, the year before China joined the World Trade Organization – the potential that lay in the shadows of China's rise, its entrenched corruption and informal banking channels that date back over 1,000 years. The French-Israeli man told the AP he laundered 90 percent of his money through China and Hong Kong, slipping it into the region's great tides of legitimate trade and finance. In 2009, Chikli posted 30,000 euros ($33,500) bail.While Chikli's copycats may have tapped into flying money networks, Chikli said he never used them himself.
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