The British security service MI5 has accused a citizen with ties to the Chinese Communist Party of trying to influence elections. File Photo by Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA-EFE
Jan. 14 (UPI) -- The British security service MI5 said a citizen connected to the Chinese Communist Party has been working to interfere with the country's political process.
The agency accused Christine Ching Kui Lee on Thursday of acting "covertly in coordination" with the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party, according to CNN.
Lee has been "judged to be involved in political interference activities in [Britain]."
An MI5 "interference alert" blamed Lee for facilitating "financial donations to political parties, parliamentarians, aspiring parliamentarians and individuals seeking political office in [Britain], including facilitating donations to political entities on behalf of foreign nationals," CNN said.
Lee has given more than $800,000 to lawmakers and candidates over the years to Labor MP and former shadow cabinet member Barry Gardiner.
While not mentioning Lee by name, the Chinese embassy in London pushed back on the notion that China was using Lee to influence peddling.
"China always adheres to the principle of non-interference in other country's internal affairs," the embassy said in a statement.
"We have no need and never seek to 'buy influence' in any foreign parliament. We firmly oppose the trick of smearing and intimidation against the Chinese community in [Britain]," the embassy said.
While Lee's donations have gone mostly to the Labor Party, she has also made donations to the Liberal Democratic Party as well.
Gardiner said Lee's donations were used to fund researchers at the time.
"All the donations were properly reported in the register of members' interests and their source-verified at the time," Gardiner said, according to The Guardian.
"I have been assured by the security services that whilst they have definitively identified improper funding channeled through Christine Lee, this does not relate to any funding received by my office," Gardiner said.