US report links Lippo group family to mainland intelligence

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 February, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 February, 1998, 12:00am

The Riady family, which runs Indonesia's giant Lippo group of companies, has long-standing links to Chinese intelligence operations, according to a Senate report on the Democrats' fund-raising scandals.

The report, due to be released soon, also suggests there is 'strong circumstantial evidence' that six overseas figures, including James and Mochtar Riady, funnelled hundreds of thousands of dollars illegally into the 1996 election campaign, according to a copy obtained by the Washington Post.

The Riadys, the document suggests, had 'a long-term relationship with a Chinese intelligence agency', which involved the Lippo executives receiving Chinese government assistance in their business operations 'in exchange for large sums of money and other help'.

Also included among the six China-linked individuals are Yah Lin 'Charlie' Trie, the Arkansas restaurateur who last week returned to the US to face charges of involvement in illegal campaign donations, and California businesswoman Maria Hsia, whom the document calls 'an agent of the Chinese Government'.

'The committee has learned that Hsia has been an agent of the Chinese Government, that she acted knowingly in support of it, and that she has attempted to conceal her relationship with the Chinese Government,' the Washington Post quotes it as saying.

'The committee has also learned that Hsia has worked in direct support of a PRC diplomatic post in the US.' It was Ms Hsia who organised a controversial democratic fund-raising event at a Buddhist temple in 1996, attended by Vice-President Al Gore.

Her lawyer has denied the allegations against her.

Despite the claims of the Chinese links to the individuals mentioned, the document is not said to provide any direct evidence of Chinese government complicity in uncovered illegal fund-raising activities.