Chinese clients have allegedly been offered access to Donald Trump and his administration by the female founder of a massage parlour involved in a high-profile prostitution sting.
Li Yang, the Chinese founder of the Orchids of Day spa in Florida, made headlines last week when US media unearthed a photo of her smiling alongside the US president at his West Palm Beach country club during last month’s Super Bowl.
Less than three weeks after the selfie was taken, Robert Kraft, owner of Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots, was charged with soliciting prostitution at Orchids of Day after police say they caught him on video in January paying for oral sex.
Mr Kraft has denied any wrongdoing. Ms Yang, 45, says she has long since sold the day spa in question, and she has not been charged or implicated with crimes related to the sting.
Ms Yang does, however, continue to operate a series of spas scrutinised by at least two police agencies for prostitution.
She also runs with her husband an investment firm called GY US Investments LLC – described on its website as an “international business consulting firm” that helps US-based firms expand in China.
Accompanying an image of Mar-a-Lago, Mr Trump’s private club in Florida, the company claims to offer clients the opportunity for a “presidential roundtable and presidential dinner” and to “take photos with the president”.
It also offers the “opportunity to interact” with the president and the “Minister of Commerce” – presumably US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross – as well as access to a “First Lady Charity Ball”.
Ms Yang’s biography on the site describes her as a “member of the presidential fundraising committee” and a “presidential club member” who has been settled in the US “for more than 20 years”.
Photos reviewed by The Miami Herald show Ms Yang has recently become politically active, with photos alongside Mr Trump, his adult sons, as well as other prominent Republicans like Florida governor Ron DeSantis and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
The newspaper reported Ms Yang and her relatives have since 2017 donated more than $42,000 to a Trump political action committee, as well as $16,000 to Mr Trump’s campaign.
Her investment firm’s website lists upcoming events at what appears to be Mar-a-Lago.
The events include one titled, “International Leaders Elite Forum” on 30 March, which touts Mr Trump’s sister Elizabeth Trump Grau as a guest speaker.
Another event promoted on the site is a New Year’s Eve dinner in which attendees celebrate “with the president’s family”.
Ms Yang and the White House have both been contacted for comment.