Saturday, October 31, 2020

Chinese firm linked to Los Angeles Councilman Huizar’s corruption case agreed to pay $1 million fine


A Chinese company’s Arcadia subsidiary has agreed to pay more than $1 million to resolve allegations that it bribed city officials, including former Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, with campaign contributions, foreign travel and Katy Perry concert tickets to ensure support for its downtown building projects, it was announced Wednesday.

The non-prosecution agreement with Jia Yuan USA Co. Inc. is the latest development in the ongoing investigation into a wide-ranging pay-to-play scheme at City Hall. China-based Shenzhen Hazens established the company to redevelop the Los Angeles Luxe City Center Hotel, which it purchased in 2014 for more than $100 million.

Jia Yuan “planned a massive redevelopment that would include retail space, residential units, and hotel rooms, valued at approximately $700 million,” according to a statement of facts accompanying the NPA.

Under the agreement, Jia Yuan will, among other actions, pay the fine within two weeks, continue to cooperate with the FBI’s ongoing public corruption probe, and fire George Chiang, a real estate consultant who pleaded guilty to participating in a Huizar-led racketeering enterprise, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

- Advertisement -

The document filed in Los Angeles federal court outlines Jia Yuan’s conduct in relation to Huizar, who faces trial in June on a 34-count racketeering indictment. In the statement of facts, Jia Yuan admits a series of acts, including:

— a Jia Yuan employee provided Katy Perry concert tickets to Huizar soon after the councilman and an unnamed official previously identified as the city’s then-deputy mayor for economic development intervened in a compliance issue at a Hazens-owned hotel;
— Jia Yuan employees made campaign contributions to several U.S. political candidates, some of which were later reimbursed by the company at the direction of a foreign national, who was prohibited from participating in U.S. elections;
— Jia Yuan provided in-kind contributions to several U.S. political candidates by hosting reduced-cost fundraising events at the Luxe Hotel, some of which took place at the direction of a foreign national who was prohibited from participating in U.S. elections;
— the chairman of the Hazens companies facilitated an introduction that resulted in a contract that paid indirect bribe payments to Huizar, who, in his official capacity, introduced and voted on a motion to benefit the Luxe Hotel project; and
— Chiang organized a Huizar family trip to China that Hazens partially subsidized.

After receiving all of these benefits, Huizar voted to approve the Luxe Hotel project before the city’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee, which he chaired until shortly after federal agents executed search warrants at his Boyle Heights home and city offices in November 2018, prosecutors allege.

The statement also details how Chiang and the economic development official asked the Hazens chairman on several occasions to make a $100,000 contribution to a political action committee established to benefit a Huizar relative who was planning to run for his council seat. While the chairman did not authorize the donation, Chiang told Huizar that Hazens would make the $100,000 donation, which prompted Huizar to take additional officials acts to approve the Luxe Hotel project, it says.

- Advertisement -

The NPA does not preclude or limit the investigation or prosecution of individuals, including any current or former Jia Yuan officer, employee or agent, federal prosecutors said.


Actress Lori Loughlin begins 2-month prison sentence for role in college admissions scam

Actress Lori Loughlin reported to a federal prison in Northern California on Friday to start a two-month sentence for her role in a massive...

FirstEnergy fires CEO, other executives over Ohio bribery scandal

FirstEnergy Corp. has fired its CEO amid multiple federal investigations related to an Ohio nuclear bailout law passed year. The Akron-based utility company announced in a...

Ukraine’s court strips critical power from anti-corruption agency

Ukraine's Constitutional Court has stripped the country’s anti-corruption agency of some of its critical powers. The high court’s ruling published on October 28 declared it...

Former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak sent back to prison for 17 years in corruption case

Former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak was ordered back to prison on Thursday (Oct 29) as the country's Supreme Court upheld a 17-year jail...

Nigerian court declines to issue international arrest warrant for fugitive ex-Petroleum Minister in corruption case

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Wednesday, refused an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for an arrest...

Subscribe For More

Get our daily notification on the latest financial crimes news around the World


Latest News

This Week

Julius Baer to deny two former CEOs their bonuses over money laundering scandal

Julius Baer will withhold millions of francs in bonuses from its former chief executives Boris Collardi and Bernhard Hodler, as a result of a...

Former President of nuclear transportation company gets prison in scheme to bribe Russian official

A Maryland businessman convicted of plotting to pay a Russian official more than $1.5 million in bribes to get lucrative contracts for transporting uranium...

Greek ex-minister Tsochadzopoulos, wife sentenced for money laundering

Former minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos, his wife and his cousin were found guilty of money laundering by a criminal appeals court on Tuesday. Each was served...

Actress Lori Loughlin begins 2-month prison sentence for role in college admissions scam

Actress Lori Loughlin reported to a federal prison in Northern California on Friday to start a two-month sentence for her role in a massive...

Adblock Detected!

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our website.

Enable Notifications    Ok No thanks