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Trudeau Foundation board chair says donation from Chinese company has been returned

OTTAWA — The chair of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation’s board says the organization has returned a $140,000 donation to Millennium Golden Eagle International.

Edward Johnson was speaking to a House committee that’s investigating allegations that Beijing orchestrated donations to the charity in an attempt to influence the prime minister.

Those allegations came from a report in the Globe and Mail in February, which cited an unnamed security source.

Johnson told the committee he has confirmed with the bank that the company received the money from the Trudeau Foundation. 

One of the men who arranged the donation in 2016, billionaire Zhang Bin, is listed online as chairman of Millennium Golden Eagle International.

He is also president of the China Cultural Industry Association, which says on its website it adheres to the “total leadership” of the Chinese Communist Party and was formed with the approval of China’s central government.

Johnson says the foundation has been trying to return the donation since the controversy emerged but it had trouble finding a bank account associated with the company. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2023.

— With files from Mickey Djuric and Chuck Chiang

The Canadian Press

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