A Chinese American businesswoman, who goes by the names Xiao Yan Chen and Chen Yu, purchased a four-bedroom condo in the Trump Park Avenue building in Manhattan last month for $15.8 million, Mother Jones reported at the time. Now the political magazine is reporting that Chen is connected to a Chinese intelligence front group, festering further concerns about President Donald Trump's conflicts of interest.
Chen, a rather enigmatic businesswoman, chairs the U.S. arm of the nonprofit, China Arts Foundation, which has ties to Chinese elites and the country's military intelligence service, Mother Jones reported Wednesday. The nonprofit apparently has a working relationship with the Chinese Association for International Friendly Contacts (CAIFC). In 2012, the Republican National Committee wanted to adopt a resolution that maligned CAIFC because of a report that concluded it was a "front organization" for the Chinese intelligence community.
Andy Kroll and Russ Choma from Mother Jones appropriately summarized the implications of Chen's recent purchase at a Trump Organization property:
An influence-peddler who works with a princeling tied to Chinese military intelligence placed $15.8 million in the pockets of the president of the United States.
Norm Eisen, who served as President Barack Obama's ethics czar, told Mother Jones that the links between Chen, the China Arts Foundation, CAIFC and Chinese intelligence raised a "series of very profound and troubling questions." Eisen said this was another example of why the president and the Trump Organization have to be totally transparent with their business dealings.
"When, as here, the public interest is implicated, we're left at a loss," Eisen said. "You shouldn't be asking these questions about a president."
After Mother Jones contacted China Arts Foundation for comment, the nonprofit shut down its website.