President Donald Trump reportedly spent a decade chasing business projects in China. According to a New York Times report, Trump not only pursued Chinese projects prior to being elected the President but also had a full-fledged office in China and even forged a partnership with a major government-controlled company.
The report also claims that Trump maintains a bank account in China, apart from ones in Britain and Ireland, and also filed taxes there. The report comes just weeks ahead of the US Presidential election and amid Trump's repeated claims that his opponent Democrat candidate Joe Biden has links to China.
No More a Secret
The New York Times, which has obtained some of Trump's tax returns, claims that the President has a bank account in China. The Chinese account is maintained by Trump International Hotels Management LLC, which tax records show paid $188,561 in taxes in China while pursuing licensing deals there between 2013 and 2015.
However, Trump hasn't released his tax filings. Moreover, whatever he has shown up so far, the foreign accounts at least do not feature on his public financial disclosures, where he must list personal assets, because they are held under corporate names.
One of the lawyers of the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, in response to the revelation about his account in China, said the company had opened an account with a Chinese bank that has offices in the United States so that it could pay the local taxes associated with efforts to do business there. The account, according to Garten, was opened after establishing an office in China to explore the potential for hotel deals in Asia.
"No deals, transactions or other business activities ever materialized and, since 2015, the office has remained inactive," Garten said. "Though the bank account remains open, it has never been used for any other purpose." However, he didn't identify the bank in China where the account exists.
The revelation of Trump holding an account in a Chinese bank comes just two weeks before the election. China has been a major issue Trump in Trump campaign for the 2020 Presidential Election. He has time and again tried to portray Biden as misreading the dangers posed by China's growing power and has spent months insisting that the former Vice President as pro-China.
"China is on a massive disinformation campaign because they are desperate to have Sleepy Joe Biden win the presidential race," Trump tweeted last spring. Even his son, Donald Trump Jr., in a tweet falsely claimed, "Beijing Biden is so weak on China that the intelligence community recently assessed that the Chinese Communist Party favors Biden."
However, the NYT report paints a different picture altogether. Biden at least doesn't have financial ties with China. In 2017, Trump International Hotels Management reported revenues of $17.5 million, which was a huge jump from the previous year. That was also the first year of Trump in office as the US President. Although the tax return papers obtained don't show how much of the money came from China, the dealings definitely suggest a massive conflict of interest between his foreign policy and his wallet.