White House Denies China Ties With President’s Brother
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The White House on Wednesday denied any association between President Bush’s brother, who has business dealings in China, and U.S. consideration of easing a satellite trade ban against Beijing.
The president and Prescott Bush of Connecticut, who visited China last February on business, are ″unaware of any association involving Hughes aircraft,″ the contractor that is building three satellites for launch by the Chinese, said White House spokesman Steve Hart.
Bush is considering lifting a ban on satellite exports to China, a sanction he imposed because of Beijing’s violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators last spring.
Affected would be three communications satellites that are being manufactured by Hughes and are to be launched in joint ventures by China.
Administration officials have said the ban on satellite export might be lifted because Bush meant to restrict military trade, not commercial ventures.
The president’s brother is a business consultant to Asset Management International Financing & Settlement of New York, an international merchant bank that arranges financing and other services for firms doing multinational business.
Stanley Scheinman, executive vice president of the firm, said Bush’s decision on the satellite matter ″is not relevant to our business plans.″
The president’s brother did not return a reporter’s Wednesday calls to his New York office.
Scheinman said it was ″pretty far out″ to suggest that a decision to resume the satellite transfers would benefit Prescott Bush or the Asset Management firm.
However, he acknowledged that ″future telecommunications capacity established anywhere in the world″ to technology starved countries like the Soviet Union and China ″would benefit any telecommunications interest,″ such as a client Asset Management is working with.
That company, Sino Trade, is involved in a venture with a Chinese group to link data bases that are scattered all over China.
Scheinman contended the firm already has its plans for a communications network using all existing telecommunications avenues, including telephone lines, microwave, and an existing satellite. Thus, said Scheinman, Sino Trade is not concerned about whether more satellites are brought in.
However, The Washington Times on Wednesday quoted an official of Sino Trade as saying that Bush’s decision on the Hughes satellites could augment Sino Trade’s project although the company would not be dependent on it.
The official, Richard Wall, told The Los Angeles Times that the Hughes satellites would offer a better communications link than the domestic one in China.
Hart said the president’s brother ″has been very careful in his dealings. ... He is cognizant of his brother’s position and has been, in the past, outspoken that there is no relationship in his business dealings with those of the government or the president.″
Prescott Bush traveled through Japan, South Korea and China in search of business for his own development consulting firm last February. The president also visited those same countries later.
The president’s brother said at the time he saw no conflict of interest and stated he has a policy against doing business with the U.S. government or lobbying the government.