Chinese Magnate Admits to Making Straw Donations to N.Y. Politicians

A Chinese business titan pleaded guilty on Monday to federal charges that he made more than $10,000 in straw donor contributions to political candidates — including, a person familiar with the case said, to a New York congressman and Mayor Eric Adams.

Hui Qin, 56, of Old Westbury, N.Y., who was once listed on Forbes magazine’s list of billionaires, ran a now-defunct entertainment business called SMI Culture. But he has been in federal custody since the fall, when he was arrested at an apartment he kept at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan on charges of using fake identification.

Hui QinCredit…Imaginechina

Mr. Qin asked others to contribute to political campaigns of his choosing, and he agreed to reimburse them, in 2021 and 2022, according to prosecutors. The other figures who received donations were Representative Andrew Garbarino of Long Island and Allan Fung, a former mayor of Cranston, R.I., who ran for Congress, the person familiar with the case said. Both are Republicans, while Mr. Adams is a Democrat.

Mr. Qin concealed his activities from the officials he was raising money for, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case. As a result, they unwittingly filed false reports.

Breon S. Peace, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement that Mr. Qin had admitted to “engaging in a brazen web of deception” that spread lies to the authorities overseeing elections.

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