UK to investigate advisors who help China target British businesses

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London [UK], April 20 (ANI): Lawmakers of the UK Parliament have called for an investigation against the political figures and advisers, who profit by helping the Chinese government to target British businesses amid growing fears that Beijing is using Covid-19 pandemic to advance its commercial interests.

In a report published by The Daily Mail on Sunday, Tom Tugendhat, the Tory chairman of the Foreign affairs Committee, was quoted as warning “suited Svengalis” who profit from the skills they have acquired over years of training would face scrutiny.

“Too frequently, we’ve seen those who once wrote the rules and negotiated agreements to protect us, and some who still sit in our Parliament, selling the tricks they learned in Government,” wrote the politician in the Mail on Sunday.

The move comes after a China-backed company mounted an attempted coup at a UK firm, Imagination technologies, which designs graphic chips for apple.

The company was sold to private equity business Canyon Bridge Capital Partners in 2017 for PS550million in a deal approved by Theresa May’s government on the basis that the company would remain subject to US laws.

However, the organisation later moved its head office to the Cayman Islands – outside US jurisdiction. Last week, senior MPs sounded the alarm after China Reform Holdings, the Beijing-backed lead investor in Canyon Bridge, tried to take control of the firm – amid fears it planned to transfer the ownership of intellectual property to China.

This newspaper has seen correspondence linking Global Counsel, the public affairs company chaired by Peter Mandelson, to Canyon Bridge. Global Counsel’s staff includes Alex Dawson, who was working for May in 10 Downing Street when the 2017 deal was agreed.

In the correspondence, Ben Wegg-Prosser, the company’s managing director, advises Canyon Bridge over how to respond to MPs demanding reassurances over the British company’s future.

The row follows a similar outcry over Boris Johnson’s decision to allow Huawei to help to build the UK’s 5G network, which led to furious protests over the potential threat to the country’s security network.

The Chinese tech giant – which refutes claims it is an arm of the Chinese Communist Party – has built up a network of spin doctors and lobbyists with a combined annual wage bill running into several million pounds.

Their lobbying efforts are led by Roland Rudd, brother of former Home Secretary Amber Rudd, in association with a network of special advisers and journalists to the previous government in power.

The Mail also reported that Sir Simon Fraser, the former Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Office, also has a paid role advising Huawei.

Lawmakers have now dubbed this push to become China’s closest ally in the west, the ‘Golden Error’. Huawei has also signed the ex-boss of British telecom, Sir Michael Rake, to chair its board.

The Mail further mentioned that the Cabinet Office is considering tightening up of the coming National Security Investment Bill that will give the British government more powers to block deals that threaten national interests.

However, denying allegations, a source at Global Counsel said on Saturday night that the firm advised Canyon Bridge on ‘policy matters relating to its investment portfolio’ and had no contractual relationship with China Reform Holdings.(ANI)