National Security

FBI opens corruption probe into Trump donor in Florida: report

Greg Nash

The FBI is reportedly investigating the former owner of a Florida day spa who is alleged to have advertised access to President Trump to Chinese executives.

The Miami Herald reported Thursday that the FBI opened a public corruption investigation into Li “Cindy” Yang examining whether she illegally distributed money from China into Trump’s reelection campaign. The bureau is also reportedly probing whether Yang committed other possible campaign finance violations, according to the Herald.

{mosads}A source familiar with the investigation told the Herald that investigators secured a federal grand jury subpoena on Tuesday seeking records from an associate of Yang’s. The associate, Bing Bing Peranio, an employee of Yang’s family’s spa business, reportedly maxed out donations to Trump’s reelection campaign.

Yang went to Peranio’s workplace and helped her write the $5,400 check, Peranio told The New York Times, which first reported the contribution.

According to the Herald, the subpoena seeks records related to the March 5, 2018, donation and other potential contributions since 2014.

Peranio told the Herald that she had received a subpoena and said FBI agents had interviewed her Thursday, but declined to discuss specifics of the conversation.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami declined to confirm or deny the investigation to the Herald.

A spokeswoman for Yang did not immediately return the Herald’s request for comment.

FBI officials began investigating earlier this year whether Chinese intelligence agencies were spying on the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where Trump often visits.

Yang is a naturalized U.S. citizen and a club member at the president’s West Palm Beach resort, according to the Herald, and began promoting events at the president’s club last year.

She came under scrutiny in March following the arrest of Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, who was charged with solicitation of a prostitute after visiting a spa she founded but no longer owns.

The businesswoman has attended several political events featuring high-profile Republicans and took a selfie with Trump while rooting for the Patriots during a Super Bowl party at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago.

Yang and her close relatives have donated more than $42,000 to the PAC Trump Victory and more than $16,000 to the Trump campaign, the Herald reported earlier this year.

Yang previously pushed back on claims that she peddled access to Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort, while accusing House Democrats of wanting to investigate her because she’s Republican.

“I’m Republican and I’m Chinese,” Li Yang told NBC News in an interview in March. “That’s the reason the Democrats want to check me.”

Tags Donald Trump FBI Mar-a-Lago

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