Two New York residents charged with funneling Chinese investors’ money to Trump campaign

NEW YORK, July 18 (Reuters) – Two New York state residents have been charged with illegally using funds from Chinese and Singaporean investors to donate $600,000 to the presidential re-election campaign. President Donald Trump in 2017, US prosecutors announced Monday.

The program was part of an effort by Sherry Li and Lianbo Wang to showcase political connections as they seek funding to build a China-themed park in upstate New York, prosecutors said, adding that they raised $27 million in investment, but never completed the project. .

Li called the park “Chinese Disneyland,” according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Brooklyn.

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Prosecutors said Li and Wang made contributions in their own names to a committee organizing a fundraiser for Trump on June 28, 2017, but the funds came from 12 foreign donors the couple charged $93,000 each for. attend the event with them.

U.S. campaign finance laws prohibit foreigners from contributing to political candidates or being solicited for donations, but nothing prohibits foreign nationals from attending fundraisers, Washington attorney Kenneth said. Gross, expert in electoral law.

Li and Wang, both naturalized US citizens from China, were arrested on Long Island for conspiracy to defraud the United States, as well as wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy.

Wang’s attorney declined to comment. A lawyer for Li did not respond to a request for comment.

A spokeswoman and attorney for Trump, who has not been charged with wrongdoing, did not respond to requests for comment.

Li and Wang used a photograph taken at the June 2017 event of Li smiling with Trump and then-First Lady Melania Trump to solicit investment for the theme park project, prosecutors said.

Li also used a Chinese national’s funds to donate to other committees that enabled her to attend campaign events in October 2017, including a dinner with Trump.

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Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; additional reporting by Karen Freifeld; edited by Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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