The Chinese government helped a Los Angeles startup pay for an advanced satellite it ordered from Boeing, and now owns the company, meaning it has access to the restricted technology the satellite uses – the same sensitive technology the U.S. military relies on – according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
A subsidiary of China Orient Asset Managament in 2015 gave L.A.-based Global IP $175 million through an intermediary – Bronzelink in the Virgin Islands – and acquired 75 percent interest in the company.
China Orient is owned by China’s Ministry of Finance. Bronzelink is owned by a Hong Kong businessman.
Emil Youssefzadeh and Umar Javed, the founders of Global IP, said they realized Bronzelink was not truly independent from the Chinese government and quit. A lawsuit followed in 2017, with Youssefzadeh and Javed alleging the China Orient subsidiary, Don Ying Development, fraudulently took over the satellite project.
The satellite, which is still being built and will undergo testing soon, was initially meant to improve web services in Africa.
China needs advanced satellite technology, but is barred from buying American equipment.
“I am baffled that Boeing would proceed with the project knowing about Chinese government involvement,” retired Adm. Dennis Blair, a former U.S. director of national intelligence, told the WSJ. “They deal with projects like this all the time. They know the intent and letter of U.S. law in this area.”
Boeing said in a written statement it “undertakes rigorous measures to comply with U.S. export regulations and protect national interests.”
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