President Donald Trump’s foreign business ties just keep getting sketchier.
As most of the world’s attention has recently been on Trump’s links to Russia, another suspicious connection to Chinese military intelligence has come to light.
According to Mother Jones, the new owner of a $15.8 million penthouse in Trump Tower has ties to Chinese intelligence officials.
The woman, identified as Angela Chen, was believed to be a business owner whose company connects powerful people to broker business deals in China — but it appears she may be much more than that.
Chen refused to tell Mother Jones if her new penthouse deal was just a real estate acquisition or a ploy to get in the Trump administration’s good graces, Raw Story reports.
After more digging, Mother Jones learned that Chen is also known as Xiao Yan Chen and Chen Yu. She reportedly chairs the US branch of a nonprofit called the China Arts Foundation.
The organization was launched back in 2006 by Deng Rong, the daughter of a revolutionary Chinese leader. As such, the group allegedly has ties to China’s rich and powerful as well as military intelligence service members.
Rong has also served as vice president of the China Association for International Friendly Contacts (CAIFC), which is linked to the intelligence and foreign propaganda division of the People’s Liberation Army.
In a nutshell, Chen’s direct connection to Rong — whose lineage is tied to Chinese military intelligence — triggers the concern that she is also affiliated and the foundation she chairs is simply a cover.
While the China Arts Foundation claims to do no more than promote cultural exchange between the U.S. and China, the organization suspiciously went offline and deactivated its Facebook profile the day after receiving Mother Jones’s inquiries — further igniting suspicions of the group being a front for Chinese military intelligence.
As Norm Eisen, who served as President Barack Obama’s lead ethics lawyer, aptly noted, Chen’s connections to Rong, CAIFC, and the Chinese military raise “a series of very profound and troubling questions.”
Many of those questions stemming from the fact that there is a lack of transparency related to the vetting of business deals benefiting Trump, who is still the owner of the company that sold Chen the penthouse.
And to think, many Americans believed that Trump running the country “like a business” would be a good thing.
While on the surface it may seem unlikely that Chen’s purchase was anything more than an innocent real estate decision, the possibility of a hidden agenda is not totally far-fetched.
Considering all of the heat Trump’s administration has been getting about Russia, it would be in their best interest to do a better job at covering their tracks with other potentially shady dealings like this one.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Carlo Allegri