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Wednesday Oct 21 2020
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US President Donald Trump has bank account in China, NYT report reveals

US President Donald Trump talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping as Xi arrives for dinner at the start of their summit at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, US April 6, 2017. — Reuters/Carlos Barria

WASHINGTON: A previously unknown bank account maintained by US President Donald Trump in China has been unearthed by The New York Times, as the president attempts to paint his rival Joe Biden in a weaker light when it comes to Beijing.

Trump has spent recent days promoting a murky claim that Biden's son Hunter sold access to his father in Ukraine and China when he was vice president under Barack Obama.

It is Trump, however, who maintained an office in China during his first run for president, and partnered with a major government-controlled company, NYT reported.

Trump additionally keeps a previously unknown bank account in China, controlled by Trump International Hotels Management, according to an analysis of his tax records by the paper. It is one of only three foreign nations — including Britain and Ireland — in which he does so.

The tax records show the company "paid $188,561 in taxes in China while pursuing licensing deals there from 2013 to 2015," NYT reported.

Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten said the company had "opened an account with a Chinese bank having offices in the United States in order to pay the local taxes."

"No deals, transactions or other business activities ever materialized and, since 2015, the office has remained inactive," he told NYT. "Though the bank account remains open, it has never been used for any other purpose."

Under his "America First" banner, Trump has portrayed China as the greatest threat to the United States and global democracy.

He has launched a massive trade war that has cost China billions of dollars, harangued Chinese tech firms and laid blame for the coronavirus pandemic with Beijing.

Even so, in 2008 Trump attempted an ultimately unsuccessful office tower project in Guangzhou, and in 2012 he opened a Shanghai office, the Times said.

Additionally, Trump Hotel Collection (THC) negotiated with the State Grid Corporation of China — an electricity company, and the country's largest state-owned enterprise — to brand and manage a major development in Beijing, sources told AFP. But the bid was later abandoned.

Biden's income tax returns and financial dealings meanwhile show no business connection to China.