Donald Trump has a Chinese bank account, paid $188,561 in local taxes: New York Times reports

US President Donald Trump has a Chinese bank account and spent years pursuing business projects in the country, the New York Times reported.

The account is controlled by Trump International Hotels Management and paid local taxes between 2013 and 2015.

The Chinese bank account has paid out US$ 188,561 in local taxes.

The NY Times report details how Mr Trump has been looking to land business in China. His efforts accelerated in 2012 with the opening of a Shanghai office.

The tax records it obtained show that he has invested at least US$ 192,000 in five small companies created specifically to pursue projects in China over a number of years.

Those companies claimed at least US$ 97,400 in business expenses since 2010, including some minor payments for taxes and accounting fees as recently as 2018.

But the US president’s plans in China have been largely driven by Trump International Hotels Management, through direct ownership of THC China Development, the NY Times said.

Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organisation, described the NY Times story as “pure speculation” and said that it made “incorrect assumptions”.

He told the paper that Trump International Hotels Management had “opened an account with a Chinese bank having offices in the United States in order to pay the local taxes”.

“No deals, transactions or other business activities ever materialised and, since 2015, the office has remained inactive,” Mr Garten said.

“Though the bank account remains open, it has never been used for any other purpose,” he told the NY Times.

The US president has multiple business interests both in the US and overseas. These include golf courses in Scotland and Ireland and a chain of five-star luxury hotels.

The NY Times reported that Mr Trump maintains foreign bank accounts in China, Britain and Ireland.

Mr Trump has been critical of US firms doing business in China and sparked a trade war between the two countries.

The newspaper’s previous reports show he paid US$ 750 in US federal taxes in 2016 and 2017, when he became president.

Mr Trump has been critical of presidential candidate rival Joe Biden and his policies towards China in the lead-up to the US election, taking place on 3 November.

The Trump administration has singled out Mr Biden’s son Hunter and made unsubstantiated claims about his dealings with China. Joe Biden’s income tax returns and public financial disclosures show no business dealings connected to China.