A billionaire Chinese businessman facing trial in the U.S. because of his involvement in an alleged United Nations bribery plot previously had dealings with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday.
Casino mogul Ng Lap Seng met with Trump and other investors in 2001 to formally bid for a casino license in Macau, the most profitable gambling hub in the world. The meeting came three years after congressional reports determined Ng was among those involved in a campaign finance scandal tied to former President Bill Clinton's reelection campaign.
The reports, published in 1998, said Ng served as a front for China's Communist Party and was linked to Beijing's military.
Trump's press secretary, Hope Hicks, downplayed Trump's failed dealings at the meeting, telling the Wall Street Journal, "This was not a deal Mr. Trump was seriously considering."
House and Senate committee reports had determined three years prior that Ng had a role in illegally siphoning foreign cash to the Democratic National Committee. He was never charged in the incident. Lawmakers have also charged that Ng has links to criminal gangs in Macau, though he has repeatedly denied the accusations.
Ng's political dealings with the Clintons came under fire from congressional Republicans who condemned them for being too lax with campaign-finance rules.
Ng donated to the DNC in conjunction with Clinton ally Charlie Trie and attended exclusive White House events in the 1990s, according to the House report. Ng posed for a photo with Bill Clinton and former First Lady Hillary Clinton at the 1994 presidential gala in D.C.
"Intriguingly, Ng, who had no ties to the president except through Trie, also visited the White House 10 times between June 1994 and October 1996," the Senate report said.
Ng told FBI investigators last year that he had given money to Trie, but denied knowing what he had done with the money. Trie pled guilty to violating campaign-finance rules.
Ng is currently under house arrest in New York after being federally charged last year with bribing a now-deceased diplomat. His trial is set for January.