US President Donald Trump has admitted he has a Chinese bank account, according to a report by the New York Times. The account is controlled by Trump International Hotels Management and paid local taxes between 2013 and 2015.
It was set up “to explore the potential for hotel deals in Asia”, according to a Trump spokesman.
Trump has been critical of US firms doing business in China and sparked a trade war between the two countries.
The NYT revealed the account after obtaining Trump’s tax records, which included both personal and company financial details.
The newspaper’s previous reports show he paid $750 (£580) in US federal taxes in 2016 and 2017, when he became president.
The Chinese bank account has paid out $188,561 in local taxes.
Trump has been critical of presidential candidate rival Joe Biden and his policies towards China in the lead-up to the US election, taking place on November 3.
Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, told the NYT that Trump International Hotels Management had “opened an account with a Chinese bank having offices in the United States in order to pay the local taxes”.
“No deals, transactions or other business activities ever materialized 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,” he told the NYT.
The US president has multiple business interests both in the US and overseas. These include golf courses in Scotland and Ireland and a chain of five-star luxury hotels.
The NYT reported that Trump maintains foreign bank accounts in China, Britain and Ireland.
In August, Trump said he wanted to offer tax credits to entice US firms to move factories out of China. He also threatened to strip government contracts from firms that continue to outsource work to China.
In a speech, Trump vowed to create 10 million jobs in 10 months, saying “we will end our reliance on China”.
In stark contrast, the NYT report details how Trump has been looking to land business in China. His efforts accelerated in 2012 with the opening of a Shanghai office.
The tax records it obtained show that he has invested at least $192,000 in five small companies created specifically to pursue projects in China over a number of 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.
But the US president’s plans in China have been largely driven by Trump International Hotels Management, through direct ownership of THC China Development, according to the NYT.