Trudeau Foundation Returns $200,000 Donation From Chinese Billionaire 7 Years Later

Trudeau Foundation Returns $200,000 Donation From Chinese Billionaire 7 Years Later
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises during Question Period in Ottawa on Nov. 24, 2022. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Marnie Cathcart

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation is returning a controversial $200,000 donation it received seven years ago from a Chinese billionaire with ties to China’s communist regime.

Trudeau Foundation President Pascale Fournier announced in a statement on March 1 that the organization “learned in recent days through the media that there was a potential connection between the Chinese government and a 2016 pledge of $200,000 to be received by the Foundation.”

Fournier said that as an independent, non-partisan charity, “ethics and integrity” were among the foundation’s core values.

“We cannot keep any donation that may have been sponsored by a foreign government and would not knowingly do so. In light of these recent allegations, the Foundation has refunded to the donor all amounts received with respect to the donation pledge,” she said.

The Globe and Mail said in a Feb. 27 report that according to an unnamed national security source, a Chinese diplomat in 2014 instructed Zhang Bin, a wealthy businessman with ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), to donate $1 million to the Trudeau Foundation, and that Beijing would reimburse him for the amount. The donation is alleged to have been intended to influence Justin Trudeau after he became leader of the Liberal Party.

According to the Globe, the source said the diplomat and Zhang discussed the upcoming 2015 federal election, and the possibility that the Liberals could defeat the Conservatives to form a minority government.

Zhang and another Chinese businessman in 2016 donated $1 million to “honour the memory and leadership” of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, the father of Justin Trudeau, the Globe reported. Of that amount, $200,000 went to the Trudeau Foundation, $50,000 toward the building of a statue of Pierre Trudeau, and $750,000 to the University of Montreal’s faculty of law, where the former prime minister had attended as a student and was later an instructor.

The donation came shortly after Zhang attended a Liberal Party cash-for-access fundraiser event in 2016, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the main draw.

The Epoch Times has contacted Zhang and the PMO for comment but hasn’t heard back.