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Erik Prince charged with embezzlement

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Founder of the security contractor Frontier Services Group, Erik Prince, has been arrested by Chinese authorities in Xinjiang, a city in the Chinese "Belt and Road" initiative. Also the founder of Blackwater, a military contractor that was controversial for its actions in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is currently understood that Prince is being held at a residence he owns in China, under house arrest.

Prince, a former Navy SEAL and brother to Fmr. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had been in China checking up on the progress of a training center he had built for his security contracting group. The center has been noted for its close location to a site where Chinese officials have been holding Muslims. It could not say what kind of training that is being carried out at the base, which was built with a Chinese state-backed company.

The arrest could signal one of the first immediate foreign policy decision that the new administration needs to take, with Prince being an American citizen.

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China today has announced charges against the arrested Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater. Mr Prince was charged with embezzlement related to a training site in which Mr Prince helped develop in conjunction with a Chinese state-backed company. 

Right now, there is little the US Embassy in China can do. Anyone who breaks the law in China is subject to prosecution under the Chinese legal system. If a person is convicted and sentenced to imprisonment by a Chinese court, this sentence will be served in a Chinese prison. The matter is likely being dealt with by the Secretary of State, who would likely be speaking to his counterpart in China. 

As of right now, it will be important for the State Department to determine whether or not there is any actual evidence against Prince, but the Chinese authorities do not have to reveal any of that information. Given recent years of criminal justice "abuse" violations by Chinese officials, this may or may not turn out to be the case. Alternatively, the State Department can talk to the Chinese Government and request a prisoner release, but that likely won't come for nothing. 

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