A Chinese state-backed group told the Trudeau Foundation to omit CCP donor Zhang Bin and billionaire Niu Gensheng from its books, the Globe and Mail reports.
CCP-backed group told Trudeau Foundation to omit real donors’ names from books
The Globe and Mail peeled back this most recent onion layer on Thursday, implying that the Trudeau Foundation knew that Chinese Communist Party advisor Zhang Bin was behind the donation in 2016 — but went along with omitting his name from its books.
In 2016, Zhang and Gensheng donated $1 million to “honour the memory and leadership” of Trudeau’s father, which consisted of $200,000 to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, $750,000 to the University of Montreal’s faculty of law (where Pierre Trudeau graduated from and worked), as well as $50,000 towards a statue of Pierre Trudeau.
Subsequently, the Globe reported that the China Cultural Industry Association, a CCP-backed group, instructed the Trudeau Foundation to “refrain from using the names of Mr. Zhang and fellow billionaire Niu Gensheng, the men whom the foundation publicly identified as the donors.”
“Instead, the officials asked the foundation to attribute the donation to Millennium Golden Eagle International’s Canadian subsidiary,” wrote the Globe’s Robert Fife and Steven Chase.
The Trudeau Foundation complied, leaving Zhang, Gensheng, and the China Cultural Industry Association off its books.
Some of the board members later spoke anonymously to the French-Canadian outlet La Presse, citing turmoil from within the Foundation over how to proceed with an investigation into the donation.
Certain board members were appalled that colleagues who were part of the Foundation at the time of the donation refused to recuse themselves from the pending investigation.
“Until recently, my understanding was that the donation had been repaid. But the latest news is that it hasn’t,” one member said.
The Globe further reported on Thursday that Ted Johnson, a former top aide of Pierre Trudeau sent an email indicating the Foundation should move ahead with what should be “described as an independent review.”
Prime Minister Trudeau has said he had no idea that Zhang Bin donated to his family’s Foundation in 2016, despite meeting Zhang just months before at a cash-for-access fundraiser.
Also at the same cash-for-access Liberal Party fundraiser as Zhang in 2016 was Shenglin Xian, who is currently under investigation by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).
Donations to the Trudeau Foundation increased tenfold between 2014 and 2016, the two years between Trudeau first getting elected Prime Minister.