Ex-President Bush Spoke (for $200,000) at Event Arranged by EB-5 Suspect

By David North on July 23, 2015

Former President George W. Bush (43) apparently received $200,000 for speaking at a 2012 event in California that was sponsored by a promoter named Bingqing Yang, who has subsequently been charged with fraud in the immigrant investor (EB-5) program.

This can be discerned, indirectly, by (1) reading page 11 of a complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission citing Ms. Yang's involvement with the September 2012 "U.S. China Energy Summit", which mentions a "$200,000 speaking fee for a former President of the United States"; and (2) by looking at a photographs of the event, among them one showing Ms. Yang with a smiling George W. Bush.

Both ABC News and Buzzfeed have reported the story.

The ex-president was not given a prominent role in the photographs (though the photo of him with Ms. Yang was featured on the cover of a Chinese magazine in 2013, reproduced here, that ran an interview with her). The reader will need to scroll down to the sixth set of photos before seeing him and Ms. Yang. She was not in trouble with the SEC at the time, and there is no indication that Bush knew of the event's questionable financing or its relations to the EB-5 program.

The SEC reference is to a "former president" and does not mention Bush by name; when one uses as search tool on the complaint his name does not appear (nor do those of Carter or Clinton, the two other living ex-presidents not named Bush).

As an example of her misuse of investor funds (some EB-5 and some not), the complaint says:

For example, Yang used approximately $510,000 of investor funds to pay for a so-called "U.S. China Energy Summit" which was a 10-day, expense paid golf junket to Pebble Beach, California, for potential investors from China in September 2012. Costs for the Summit included a $200,000 speaking fee for a former President of the United States and lavish dinner.

The SEC, which in recent months has been focusing on EB-5 matters, said that Yang was had been running a $68 million Ponzi-like scheme, victimizing Chinese nationals.

When writing an earlier blog on the subject of the SEC's complaint about EB-5 and Yang, I failed to notice the reference to a former president. I have seen no other references to Bush's presence at the Yang-sponsored event.