PM's brother denies Trudeau Foundation was involved in foreign interference

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OTTAWA — The prime minister's brother says the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation has not been part of any foreign interference attempts by China.

Alexandre Trudeau, who has been involved in the foundation since its early days and was an executive director up until 2020, says donations from Chinese businessmen were negotiated before his brother became prime minister.

The committee is investigating the circumstances around a pair of 2016 and 2017 donations from Chinese billionaire Zhang Bin and another Chinese businessman, Niu Gensheng, that totalled $140,000.

Trudeau, who asked to appear before the committee to dispel what he says is misinformation, says talks with the Université de Montréal about a donation intended to honour his father began in December 2013.

Morris Rosenberg, who was the foundation's CEO at the time, told the committee on Tuesday that the negotiations were finalized in 2015 prior to the election that saw Justin Trudeau ascend to power.

The Globe and Mail had reported in February, citing an unnamed source, that the donors appeared to offer the money in the hopes of influencing the new Liberal leader ahead of a federal election in which he might defeat the ruling Conservatives.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2023.

The Canadian Press