The House speaker admitted her son was an unlisted "escort" on the controversial trip
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's son Paul Pelosi Jr. is the second-largest investor in Chinese telecom firm Borqs Technologies, a recent Daily Mail report has revealed. The younger Pelosi did not publicly disclose his stake in the $22 billion firm before accompanying his mother on the taxpayer-funded trip to Taiwan.
Upon learning that Pelosi Jr. had tagged along with his mother's delegation, several Taiwanese politicians, including the former chair of the island's financial supervisory commission, Tseng Ming-chung, have demanded to know whether the island's ruling Democratic Progressive Party had a financial relationship with the Pelosi family and whether the congresswoman's visit involved business interests. The younger Pelosi was not listed as a member of the delegation and had no government post or other stated mission to carry out.
Pelosi is not only a major investor in Borqs, a player in the Chinese internet-of-things and 5G sector, but has also worked as a consultant for the firm, according to US Securities and Exchange Commission data provided by the Daily Mail. He was rewarded for his services with 700,000 shares in the firm, at which time his holdings were exceeded only by CEO Pat Sek Yuen Chan, the report says.
Despite not being listed as part of the official delegation, the younger Pelosi was photographed with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and other officials from the contested territory. The congresswoman officially brought with her a group of Democratic Party allies that included House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Gregory Meeks, House Ways and Means Committee vice-chair Suzan DelBene, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence member Raja Krishamoorthi, and House Armed Services Committee member Andy Kim.
The House speaker and her family were sanctioned by Beijing in response to what China described as a transparent provocation by the American politician, and many in China believe the visit was conducted to deliberately increase tensions between the two global powers. However, pro-reunification scholar Chiu Yi told Global Times that Pelosi's visit to Taiwan was also aimed at padding out her husband's tech stock portfolio without triggering the suspicions that might arise from deploying an external financial advisor on such a mission. "Because of her busy schedule, Pelosi herself didn't have much time and space to keep in touch with her husband in the US. She couldn't let too many people know about their financial manipulation amid the Taiwan visit, and couldn't even ask her secretary to do it, so she could only trust her son," he told the Chinese outlet.
Indeed, Pelosi even went so far as to claim her son had no business dealings going on while he accompanied his mom around the island. "The husband runs the business in the US, Pelosi was in charge of causing trouble, and the son worked as an aide to Pelosi," Chiu explained.
The House speaker and her family are often accused of an unhealthy coziness with Beijing, claims that are unlikely to be silenced by a single allegedly self-enriching visit to Taiwan. Another Taiwan-watcher cited by Global Times suggested the Pelosi family may be positioning itself to act as a middleman to American companies looking to establish factories in Taiwan. The congresswoman's visit to a major Taiwanese chip factory came just days after Congress passed a bill aimed at subsidizing the US semiconductor industry, which sent chip stocks skyrocketing. Pelosi and her husband have been accused of insider trading regarding Paul Pelosi Sr.'s trades on tech giants Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet last month, which netted the family more than $5 million in profits.
READ MORE: China sanctions Pelosi
While the House speaker makes $223,500 annually in her government role, her net worth is estimated as high as $252 million, according to her own financial disclosures, leading many to speculate that her husband's venture capital and financial consulting firm Financial Leasing Services feeds on insider information.