A total of 32 Chinese immigrants had filed lawsuits against Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe, and Ex-Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton’s own brother, Anthony Rodham, over a business plan that had aimed at producing electric cars in the United States.
The Chinese investors had filed a $17 million fraud lawsuit in the Fairfax County, Virginia court last week, alleging that they were swindled out of about $560,000 apiece as a result of the misrepresentations that were made by McAuliffe and Rodham, two of the most politically connected proponents of the business venture, news source reported Tuesday.
The suit is yet another headache for McAuliffe as he mulls a potential presidential bid in year 2020, buoyed in part by the Democrats’ strong showing in the state election earlier this month. McAuliffe had confirmed last year that his business dealings with the foreign nationals were under investigation by the FBI and the federal prosecutors. It’s still unclear whether that probe had involved Greentech or whether the inquiry is still ongoing.
The Chinese investors had plowed their money into the Greentech with the promise of winning permanent residency in the U.S. under a program that was awarding the green cards to foreign-funded ventures that would generate U.S. jobs. However, the suit contends that the investors now face the threat of deportation from the U.S. because the Department of Homeland Security has determined that the Greentech did not generate the number of jobs that were required to sustain the number of visas issued through the so-called EB-5 program.
“Plaintiffs now face the prospect of having to uproot their families once again, with the expense and stress of deportation to China looming before them,” the suit further says, accusing McAuliffe, Rodham, and the Greentech founder Charles Xiaolin Wang, and others of running a “scam.”
The suit also says that McAuliffe and Rodham did several tours through China to talk to the Chinese citizens about investing in their electric car startup. As the brother-in-law of former President Bill Clinton and brother of the then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rodham had appeared to serve as a means of attracting Chinese interest in this venture.
“Defendants milked these connections in marketing materials,” the suit adds saying, “Defendants exploited those relationships to assure investors of both the success of the company and their ability to obtain U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) approval of the visa applications.”
McAuliffe’s spokeswoman, Crystal Carson, went on to push back against these claims in the suit and noted that McAuliffe gave up his role in Greentech almost five years ago.
“We strongly reject this baseless suit which has no merit whatsoever. The claims, which regurgitate old political attacks regarding a company that Governor McAuliffe left five years ago, were brought by a lawyer with conservative ties,” Carson stated in her statement. “We are confident it will be dismissed.”
Scott Abeles, one of the attorneys who had drafted the suit, disputed having any political motivation against McAuliffe or Rodham.
“I represented the Chamber of Commerce once or twice … I’m not a conservative dude,” Abeles, of the Los Angeles-based Gerard Fox law, said in an interview on Tuesday.