(Ottawa) Plunged into turmoil due to allegations surrounding the donation made by a Chinese businessman linked to Beijing, the board of directors of the Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau Foundation and its president and CEO Pascale Fournier resign in block.
“Over the past few weeks, the political climate surrounding a donation received by the Foundation in 2016 has put a lot of pressure on the Foundation’s leadership and volunteer Board of Directors, as well as our staff and our community,” reads- on in a press release published Tuesday on the organization’s website.
“Circumstances created by the politicization of the Foundation made it impossible to maintain the status quo, and the volunteer Board of Directors resigned, as did the President and CEO,” it adds.
Pending the renewal of the board of directors, three directors have agreed to remain on an interim basis so that the Foundation can continue to fulfill its obligations, it was specified in the same statement.
The organization was engulfed in controversy last February after The Globe and Mail reported on a report by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) about Chinese interference in connection with a contribution to the Foundation. in 2016.
The existence of this gift was known, but not the context in which it took place.
Because according to an anonymous source quoted by the English-language daily, the billionaire Zhang Bin would have received the order from Beijing to make a donation worth 1 million dollars to the Trudeau Foundation. He was reportedly promised that he would be reimbursed by the Chinese government.
A year later, Zhang Bin and a second wealthy Chinese businessman offered $1 million to honor the memory of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, including a check for $200,000 to the Foundation.
Due to the controversy surrounding this story, the donation was refunded soon after. “In light of these recent allegations, the Foundation has proceeded to refund the full amount of the donation received directly to the donor,” said Pascale Fournier on March 1.