23 May 2018Hot off the Press
Image credit: Australian Associated Press
Chinese-Australian businessman, Chau Chak Wing, funded the bribery of former UN General Assembly President, John Ashe, Federal Parliament heard on Tuesday evening.
Using parliamentary privilege, Liberal MP Andrew Hastie, who chairs the security and intelligence committee, said Mr Chau forked out $200,000 to bribe Mr Ashe, identifying him as “Co-conspirator 3 or CC-3” in reference to a court indictment.
Mr Hastie said it was during discussions with US authorities about espionage and foreign interference legislation that he confirmed the “long-suspected identity of CC-3”.
Mr Hastie said:
“The same man who co-conspired to bribe the United Nations president of the General Assembly, John Ashe. The same man with extensive contacts in the Chinese Communist Party, including the United Front. I share it with the house because I believe it to be in the national interest. My duty, first and foremost, is to the Australian people and the preservation of the ideals and democratic traditions of our Commonwealth. That tradition includes a free press.”
Mr Hastie tabled a “sensitive” US State Department cable from 2007 which allegedly reveals Mr Chau’s “close contact with the United Front, the influence arm of the Chinese Communist Party”.
He went on to detail Mr Chau’s connection to Australia by confirming the businessman’s dual citizenship and donations he has made.
Mr Hastie told Parliament:
“He has also been a very significant donor to both of our major political parties. He has given more than $4 million since 2004. He has also donated $45 million to universities in Australia. The Australian press has reported these matters and others and have been sued for defamation by CC-3. CC-3 disputes a number of the reported allegations. The merits of these defamation cases are appropriately left for a court. My concern is that defamation cases can have a chilling effect on our free press.”
Mr Hastie accused China’s ruling Communist Party of trying to influence Western Democracies and Australia specifically by covertly interfering “with our media, our universities and also influence our political processes and public debates.”
Mr Chau is yet to respond to these fresh allegations, but has previously denied accusations of wrong-doing.