Less than a week after receiving money wired from the Bank of China, fund-raiser Yah Lin “Charlie” Trie reimbursed two associates the same day they donated to the Democratic Party, Senate documents show.
The transaction last year tied to a fund-raiser hosted by President Clinton is one of several that investigators intend to introduce this week as Senate hearings into fund-raising abuses turn to the activities of Trie, an Arkansas businessman and presidential friend.
In all, investigators have evidence that Trie received nearly $1 million wired from Asia from his overseas business partner, Ng Lap Seng, during the period he was raising money for the Democratic Party and Clinton’s legal defense fund.
The money that Trie raised for the party and the defense fund has been returned in recent months because of suspicions about their origins.
Senate aides, speaking on condition of anonymity, say some of the wire transfers closely correspond to Trie’s fund-raising activities and that investigators have not found any legitimate business purpose for the transfers.
Trie, who left for China after his fund-raising stirred controversy, has not yet cooperated with the investigation.
But a Senate aide said the committee was negotiating with Trie’s lawyer about an interview overseas. The attorney, Reid Weingarten, is trying to strike a deal with the Justice Department for his client, the aide said.
Weingarten did not return a telephone call Monday seeking comment. But in an interviewed broadcast Sunday on ABC, Trie declared “I’m not hiding” As for his fundraising, he added: “The past is the past.”
Federal law prohibits donors from disguising contributions in the name of others and prohibits U.S. companies from using any money they earned overseas to make a U.S. political donation.