US President Donald Trump spent a decade unsuccessfully pursuing projects in China, where he holds a previously unknown bank account, according to a report by The New York Times on Tuesday. An analysis of Trump’s tax records by The Times showed he maintained bank accounts in just three foreign countries – China, Britain and Ireland. The foreign accounts do not show up on the president’s public financial disclosures, where he must list personal assets, because they are held under corporate names. The Chinese account is controlled by Trump International Hotels Management, which tax records show paid US$188,561 in taxes in China while pursuing licensing deals there from 2013 to 2015. Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, told The Times the company had “opened an account with a Chinese bank having offices in the United States in order to pay the local taxes” associated with efforts to do business there. He refused to name the bank but said the company had opened the account after establishing an office in China “to explore the potential for hotel deals in Asia”. “No deals, transactions or other business activities ever materialised and, since 2015, the office has remained inactive,” Garten said. “Though the bank account remains open, it has never been used for any other purpose.” Trump denies report of tax evasion, calling it ‘totally fake news’ The report pointed out that, in contrast, Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s public financial disclosures and voluntarily released income tax returns showed no income or business dealings in China. The Trump campaign has tried to portray Biden as misreading the dangers posed by China’s growing power. Trump has also sought to tar the former vice-president with overblown or unsubstantiated assertions about his son’s business dealings while he was in office. According to The Times, Trump has long sought a licensing deal in China, including filing trademark applications in Hong Kong and the mainland in 2006, many of which were approved by the Chinese government after he became president. The report said that in 2008, Trump pursued an office tower project in Guangzhou that never got off the ground. But his efforts accelerated in 2012 with the opening of a Shanghai office, and tax records show that one of Trump’s China-related companies, THC China Development, claimed $84,000 in deductions that year for travel costs, legal fees and office expenses. The Times said Trump’s tax records showed he had invested at least $192,000 in five small companies created specifically to pursue projects in China over the years. Those companies claimed at least $97,400 in business expenses since 2010, including some minor payments for taxes and accounting fees as recently as 2018, according to the report.