(NEW YORK) — Wendi Deng Murdoch, a Chinese-American businesswoman who was previously married to conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch, emerged at the center of a brewing political drama this week.
On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. counterintelligence officials warned President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner in 2017 that Deng Murdoch — a close friend of both Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump — could be promoting the Chinese interests.
A senior official briefed on the matter confirmed to ABC News that Kushner had been warned about Deng Murdoch.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal reported that Kushner was told that Deng Murdoch “could be using her close friendship with [them] to further the interests of the Chinese government.” The report noted that it is common for senior members of an incoming administration to be warned about associates with foreign connections.
Officials were reportedly concerned that Deng Murdoch had previously lobbied for a $100 million project funded by the Chinese government at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., that was ultimately blocked because of concerns that a proposed tower could be used for surveillance.
Deng Murdoch, 49, married News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch in 1999 after interning for him at the Murdoch-owned Star TV in Hong Kong. The couple had two children, Grace Helen and Chloe, before the mogul filed for divorce in 2013.
According to Vanity Fair, the union ended “abruptly” after Murdoch became suspicious that Deng Murdoch had engaged in an affair with former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair. A spokesperson for Blair denied the rumors.
At the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, Deng Murdoch appeared alongside Ivanka Trump in several photographs.
In August, Ivanka Trump posted a photo of them together on Instagram while traveling in Croatia. In September, Deng Murdoch shared a luxury box with Kushner and Ivanka Trump at the men’s singles final of the U.S. Open, photos published by Town & Country showed.
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