Jimmy Lai distances himself from report on Hunter Biden’s alleged China links

The Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai has said he personally had “nothing to do with” a report on Hunter Biden’s alleged Chinese business links, but admitted funds from his private firm had been used to pay for it.

Lai, a prominent democracy advocate in Hong Kong and a staunch critic of China, said on Twitter he was sorry his flagship newspaper, Apple Daily, had been implicated in an article by the US media outlet NBC.

In the article, NBC alleged that a 64-page document circulating on the internet about Hunter Biden’s purported connections to the Chinese Communist party and his business dealings in China had “questionable authorship and anonymous sourcing”.

The article cited the co-author of the “intelligence document”, Christopher Balding, as saying it had been commissioned by Apple Daily, which the paper said in a statement were “false allegations”.

Balding, an academic, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lai said his newspapers had not personally commissioned the document, but admitted his senior executive, Mark Simon, had “worked with the project”.

“Mark used my private company’s money to reimburse for the research he requested. It’s only $10,000 so he didn’t have to have my approval,” he said on Twitter. “I know it is hard for anyone to believe that I didn’t know about it and my integrity is damaged.”

In a statement posted online, Simon said he had resigned because of the incident, and apologised for having “allowed damage to Jimmy on a matter he was completely in the dark on”.

He gave no further details when contacted.

The Apple Daily recently published two articles on Hunter Biden and his ties to a Taiwanese businessman, who the paper said was a purported broker “enabling Hunter Biden’s deals in mainland China over a decade”.

The paper, however, said in a statement that these stories had been carried out by its own journalists in Taiwan with independent verification of their own findings, and were separate from the 64-page document.

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