On Tuesday, a federal appeals court in New York upheld the bribery conviction of the former chairman of a think tank bankrolled by a Chinese energy conglomerate with ties to Hunter Biden, the son of President-elect Joe Biden, The New York Post reports.
Back on December 5, 2018, Patrick Ho Chi-ping, the former Hong Kong home affairs secretary, was convicted for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by attempting to bribe high-ranking officials in Chad and Uganda. On Tuesday, the three-judge panel maintained that conviction.
After being released in June from a 36-month prison sentence for good behavior, Ho was deported to Hong Kong. In 2019, he was given the sentence as well as a $400,000 fine.
Ho was accused of offering bribes to these officials in order to secure oil drilling rights on behalf of CEFC China Energy, an important Chinese energy company that funded a think tank which lauded its “special consultative status” with the United Nations and an office in Manhattan. Ho was the think tank’s primary director.
According to prosecutors, during a December 2014 meeting Ho and CEFC executives offered $2 million in cash crammed into a box to President Idriss Déby of Chad. On top of that, around February 2016, Uganda’s foreign minister, Sam Kutesa, allegedly took a $500,000 bribe from Ho that was masked as a payment to a charitable organization.
The judges stated in the ruling—despite Ho’s argument that there’s insufficient evidence—that the evidence brought forward during the trial was “more than sufficient” to prove that he acted on behalf of a U.S. non-governmental organization to “assist it in obtaining business for CEFC Energy”.
Ye Jianming, who was linked to China’s military and intelligence services, was CEFC’s chairman until he vanished after being apprehended by Chinese authorities in early 2018.
According to documents obtained by The New York Post and published in an October 15 report, Hunter Biden reached a deal with Ye for half-ownership of a holding company that was anticipated to give him more than $10 million a year for making “introductions.”
The documents were found in a laptop that Hunter Biden left at a computer repair shop in Wilmington, Delaware back in April 2019. Later on, the FBI obtained the laptop as part of an investigation.
Another document The Post published included an “Attorney Engagement Letter” executed in September 2017 in which Ho, one of Ye’s chief underlings, agreed to pay Hunter Biden a $1 million retainer for “Counsel to matters related to US law and advice pertaining to the hiring and legal analysis of any US Law Firm or Lawyer.”
In other exchanges between Hunter Biden and CEFC released by The Post on December 16, the younger Biden said that any deals struck would be “interesting for me and my family.”
Included in an email sent to Hunter Biden in May 2017 are details of “remuneration packages” for six people involved in an unspecified business venture in which he was referred to as “Chair / Vice Chair depending on agreement with CEFC,” The Post reported.
Under a “provisional agreement” laid out in the email, 80% of the “equity”—the shares in the new company—would be divvied up equally between four individuals whose initials correspond to the sender and three recipients, with “H” supposedly being Hunter Biden.
The email also mentioned “10 Jim” and “10 held by H for the big guy?”
Separately, in June 2017, Hunter Biden urged Ye to “quickly” wire him $10 million to fund a failing business venture, SinoHawk Holdings, which dissolved in October 2018, The Post reported.
Earlier this month, Hunter Biden announced that he was the subject of a federal investigation into his “tax affairs” as well as his foreign business dealings. The investigations of him, which commenced in 2018, are also looking at if he and his business associates broke tax and money laundering laws.
A source told Fox News the investigation was predicated, in part, by Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) regarding foreign transactions. Another source familiar with the matter said that the SARs were regarding funds from “China and other foreign nations.”
President-elect Joe Biden, on the other hand, who has repeatedly defended his son in public, hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing by federal authorities and is currently not the subject of any investigations.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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REPORT: China has vast network of covert police stations around the world
China has a vast network of covert police stations abroad, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. These police stations serve consular functions, but are also used by China to crack down on what the CCP deems “illegal” activity of Chinese nationals abroad. The police stations include at least 38 run by the Fuzhou City police, and 22 run by the Qingtian City police. Cities housing these police stations include New York, Toronto (which has three stations), London (two), Paris (three), Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and Tokyo.
Key findings of the report are below.
“Persuaded to return”
According to China, China has “persuaded to return [to China]” 230,000 Chinese nationals living aboard from April 2021 to July 2022 alone to face charges of fraud and telecommunications fraud. A Yangxia police station set up in Mozambique, for example, persuaded a Chinese national to return to China after being accused of stealing money from his employer. Chinese authorities also put pressure on the accused family to convince the accused to surrender.
Roughly 54,000 Chinese nationals were persuaded to return from northern Myanmar alone, in the first nine months of 2021. In July 2022, the government of Wenchang City warned that its citizens living in northern Myanmar must check in with their local police stations or face multiple penalties including blocking their children from attending urban schools back in China. Similarly, in February 2022, the government of Liayang City stated that Chinese “illegally staying” in northern Myanmar must return or the bank accounts of their immediate family members could be frozen.
The Nine Forbidden Countries
China has claimed that nine countries contain serious levels of fraud and telecom fraud perpetrated by Chinese nationals. Since November 2021, China has declared that Chinese citizens living in these nine countries must return to China immediately unless they have an “emergency reason” or a “strict necessity” to travel or stay in those countries. Those countries are: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the UAE, and Turkey. However, the report questions whether these countries are truly awash in such fraud, as most of China’s oversees police stations are in the West, and only one of the nine countries (Cambodia) has such a police station. Chinese staying in the nine forbidden countries, as well as threats to family members as stated above, creates a “guilt-by-association” atmosphere intended to repatriate the Chinese nationals.
According to the report, Chinese police stations abroad serve to bypass “bilateral extradition treaties or other mechanisms of judicial cooperation” to cooperate with CCP-linked NGOs which effectively “[sets] up an alternative policing and judicial system within third countries.” Instead of using international judicial cooperation, which establishes due process, the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial, China uses the above “persuade-to-return” methods and transnational police stations to circumvent international law and coerce Chinese nationals to return to China for trials. These policies show the power of China’s long-arm oppression over its own subjects.
You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic
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