President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is reportedly guiding a Chinese billionaire on how to profit off of Trump's promised $1 trillion infrastructure plan, the Financial Times reports. Yan Jiehe, who founded the privately-owned Pacific Construction Group, described Manafort as "Trump's special envoy" and told the Financial Times that Manafort is helping him navigate how to secure construction contracts during Trump's upcoming infrastructure rollout.
"I will not seek out Trump. He will seek me out. In the entire world, I am definitely the most ideal privately owned unit to invest in construction. In the whole world, there's not another company equal to Pacific Construction," said Yan.
Manafort has come under fire recently following reports that he earned tens of millions of dollars secretly working for a Russian billionaire close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. A U.S. official told The Associated Press in March that Manafort is a "leading focus of the U.S. intelligence investigation of Trump's associates and Russia." He recently registered as a foreign agent at the prompting of the U.S. government.
Manafort's spokesman initially denied Manafort's trip to China had been on business before conceding it had been, but he maintained it did not involve any discussion of infrastructure deals. "The Pacific Construction Group was an impromptu meeting added to Mr. Manafort's schedule at their request because the Chinese are interested in U.S. infrastructure," Manafort's spokesman said. "However, his work does not involve any current or future infrastructure projects or contracts in the United States. As he has said before, he is not engaged in government affairs or lobbying for corporations, governments, or individuals."
Read more about why Chinese entrepreneurs are eager to meet with Manafort at the Financial Times.