- The Washington Times - Monday, February 7, 2000

Democratic fund-raiser Charles Yah Lin Trie told the FBI that an Indonesian businessman with ties to the Chinese military gave him $200,000 to contribute to the Democratic Party and to reimburse those who gave to President Clinton’s legal defense fund.
According to a 74-page summary of extensive FBI interviews obtained by The Washington Times, Trie also said it was he who first suggested that Mr. Clinton or Vice President Al Gore be encouraged to attend a fund-raising event at a California Buddhist temple because “alot of money” would be available for the Clinton-Gore campaign.
Trie pleaded guilty in May to federal election law violations. As part of his guilty plea and as a condition of keeping him from serving any prison time, Trie pledged to cooperate in the probe.
The FBI summary has surfaced as Mr. Gore’s presidential campaign appears to have gained momentum in the race against former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley following an opening-round victory in the New Hampshire primary. A number of questions have been raised by Mr. Bradley and Republican candidate Sen. John McCain about Mr. Gore’s credibility concerning fund-raising practices during the 1996 presidential campaign.
Mr. Gore, despite repeated efforts, has not been able to explain why he attended the temple fund-raiser. Initially, he said the event was for community outreach. Later, when confronted with new evidence, the White House said the vice president had used “a poor choice of words.” Mr. Gore’s office then said he knew the event was “finance-related” because top Asian-American contributors would be present but did not know campaign donations would be solicited.
The FBI interviews of Trie, conducted over a four-month period last year, were a part of the Justice Department’s campaign finance task force investigation.
Trie said he used the $200,000 for donations to the Democratic Party and to reimburse Mr. Clinton’s legal defense fund. He identified his Jakarta money source as Tomy Winata, whose business concerns include extensive property holdings, a bank controlled by the Indonesian army and a massive telecommunications company.
Mr. Winata, an ethnic Chinese, has been described by U.S. intelligence officials as a businessman who has profited greatly by serving as a front man for corporations controlled by Indonesian and Chinese army and intelligence officials.
He has been identified as a business associate of Liu Chao-ying, a lieutenant colonel in the People’s Liberation Army and the daughter of China’s top general. Col. Liu directed much of the fund raising among Asian-Americans in the United States, including $300,000 she routed from Gen. Ji Shengde, the chief military intelligence officer for the PLA, to California businessman Johnny Chung for the Democratic Party.
Trie, a former Little Rock restaurant owner who met Mr. Clinton when he was governor of Arkansas, told the FBI that Mr. Winata originally wanted an introduction for himself and others to Mr. Clinton for a private “one-on-one meeting,” but that the best he could do after checking with the White House was to have him seated next to the president at a fund-raiser at the Hay Adams Hotel in Washington.
He said the White House decision to reject the private meeting was made by someone with access to White House aide Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty. That name is blacked out in the summary.
Trie said Mr. Winata did not want to attend the fund-raiser, but asked him to “take care of my people.” Trie said Mr. Winata then told him he would send $200,000 “with his people” and that the money in traveler’s checks later was delivered in February 1996 by Santosa Gunara, a top aide to Mr. Winata.
He said the money was delivered after he asked Mr. Winata whether he could “help out” with cash for the Democratic Party. He told the FBI that $50,000 went to purchase tickets for the February 1996 Hay Adams fund-raiser. He said “several thousand dollars” were used to reimburse donors to the president’s legal expense fund.
Trie also told FBI investigators that he telephoned John Huang to ask whether Mr. Clinton or Mr. Gore could visit the temple in Los Angeles, saying “individuals associated with the Buddhist religion could help the Democratic National Party with voting and raising money.”
Huang, who pleaded guilty in August to violating federal election laws, called Trie after Mr. Gore’s attendance had been arranged to inquire whether he would mind if Maria Hsia, a longtime Gore fund-raiser, “received credit for the event.”
Mrs. Hsia has since been indicted on charges of illegally disguising campaign donations to the 1996 Clinton-Gore Re-election Committee that were made after the 1996 fund-raiser attended by Mr. Gore at the Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, Calif. Opening arguments in her trial are scheduled to begin today in U.S. District Court in Washington.
According to the FBI summary, Trie also told agents he used the Arkansas driver’s license of his secretary’s husband, Reynaldo Mapili, to get a prominent Taiwanese businessman into the White House to meet with the president. He said Chich Chong “Simon” Chien was able to circumvent White House security with the license to attend a White House dinner.
He told the FBI he used Mr. Mapili’s license because he did not want people thinking “he was bringing another foreigner into the White House.” Mr. Mapili is described in the summary as a Filipino-American postal worker.
The White House Saturday night in a statement said the president “had no knowledge or reason to believe there was a problem with the fund raising and every investigation since that time has borne that out.”
Trie, a leading contributor to the Democratic Party during the 1996 election campaign and to Mr. Clinton’s legal defense fund, was asked to cooperate in the Justice Department probe after FBI agents determined he had critical information on suspected efforts by China to influence U.S. policy with illegal campaign donations.
Chung, also a cooperating witness, told a House committee that Trie asked the Chinese government in 1996 for $1 million to help guarantee Mr. Clinton’s re-election. Chung said he was given that information by a Beijing banker with close ties to the Chinese government.
Trie, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Taiwan, pleaded guilty to a felony count of making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and a misdemeanor charge of making political contributions in the names of others.
Now an owner of Daihatsu International Trading Corp., Trie delivered $640,000 to Mr. Clinton’s legal defense fund in 1996 all of which was returned after fund executives said they could not determine the money’s source. The donations included checks with signatures that matched those on other checks and money orders numbered sequentially, but from different cities.

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