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NYT: Trump records show Chinese business pursuits and bank account

  • Published at 01:36 pm October 21st, 2020
Donald Trump
File photo: US President Donald Trump listens to a question as he answers reporters questions during a news conference at the White House, in Washington on September 4, 2020 Reuters

Earlier reporting by the NYT showed he paid just $750 in US taxes in 2016 and 2017

Donald Trump spent years cultivating business projects in China, where he maintained a previously unknown bank account, The New York Times reported, as the US president attempts to portray election rival Joe Biden as weaker on 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, reports AFP.

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

Earlier reporting by the NYT showed he paid just $750 in US taxes in 2016 and 2017.

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 The Times. "Though the bank account remains open, it has never been used for any other purpose."

Meanwhile, the report pointed out that Biden's income tax returns and financial dealings show no business connection to China.

The report said that in 2008, Trump pursued an office tower project in Guangzhou that never got off the ground. But his efforts accelerated in 2012 with the opening of a Shanghai office, and tax records show that one of Trump’s China-related companies, THC China Development, claimed $84,000 in deductions that year for travel costs, legal fees and office expenses, reports AP.

The NYT said that Trump’s tax records showed he had invested at least $192,000 in five small companies created specifically to pursue projects in China over the years. 

Those companies claimed at least $97,400 in business expenses since 2010, including some minor payments for taxes and accounting fees as recently as 2018, according to the report.