Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching names billionaire Chau Chak Wing ‘puppeteer’ in foreign interference plot


A federal senator has used parliamentary privilege to suggest that a major Chinese-Australian political donor is the mysterious “puppeteer” behind a thwarted foreign interference plot to back political candidates in the upcoming election.

During a hearing on Senate estimates, Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching alleged that the wealthy businessman behind the recent overseas plot was property developer Chau Chak Wing.

Dr Chau denied the claim, calling it “baseless and reckless”.

His comments follow ASIO boss Mike Burgess’ revelation last week that his security agency recently blocked a foreign-funded operation to fund unsuspecting candidates in an unspecified election. .

During his annual threat assessment speech on Wednesday, Mr. Burgess declined to name the country behind the plot, or whether it was a targeted federal, state or local election.

Dr. Chau Chak Wing has donated millions of dollars to political parties, charities and universities.(PA: Chris Pavlich)

“I am reliably informed that the puppeteer mentioned in your case study in your annual threat assessment speech delivered last week is Chau Chak Wing,” Senator Kitching said during the committee hearing Monday evening. .

“I believe it’s Chau Chak Wing. Are you able to confirm that it is Chau Chak Wing? Senator Kitching asked Mr. Burgess.

The ASIO boss told the committee that he would not discuss the issue publicly.

“Senator, as I have said before, I will not comment on speculation about who is and who is not targeted, generally or specifically, as you ask me there,” Mr. Burgess said.

“I think it’s unfair for you to ask me that question in public.”

Mike Burgess in a hallway with a row of photographs.
ASIO chief executive Mike Burgess declined to name the country behind the plot. (ABC News: Adam Kennedy)

In a statement, Dr Chau said Senator Kitching hid behind the “shield of parliamentary privilege” to vilify and attack him without evidence.

“I am a businessman and a philanthropist. I have never been involved or interested in interfering with the democratic electoral process in Australia,” Dr Chau said.

“In 2017, ABC and Nine reporter Nick McKenzie made a similar allegation in a Four Corners report. The Federal Court later awarded me very substantial damages which I gave to charitable organisation.

“I urge Senator Kitching to show courage and integrity by repeating her request and revealing the sources she says she relied on, outside of parliament.”

Dr Chau is an Australian citizen originally from China, who has donated millions of dollars to major Australian political parties, universities and charities that help veterans.

In 2018, Liberal MP Andrew Hastie also named Dr Chau to parliament as being closely associated with the Chinese Communist Party’s lobbying arm, the United Front Work Department, and alleged he was a co-conspirator in a case. FBI corruption.

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