Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe is under investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department for as much as $160,000 in contributions from a Chinese businessman to his 2013 campaign, according to news reports.
The inquiry — the second federal investigation of two consecutive Virginia governors — centers on whether the donations from Wang Wenliang violated the law, CNN reports.
The donations by Wang, 61, were made through his U.S. companies, according to CNN. He owns the China Rilin Construction Group, which holds a majority stake in the Dadong Port Group, a Chinese port near North Korea, according to Forbes magazine.
Forbes lists Wang's net worth as $1.05 billion, ranking him as No. 1,694 on its billionaires' list.
"The governor will certainly cooperate with the government if he is contacted about it," Marc Elias, an attorney for McAuliffe's campaign, told the cable network in a statement.
"Neither the governor nor his former campaign has knowledge of this matter, but as reported, contributions to the campaign from Mr. Wang were completely lawful," he added.
"As a matter of policy, the department generally neither confirms nor denies whether a matter is under investigation," said Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman, told The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Several U.S. officials have been briefed on the investigation, which also involves McAuliffe's tenure on the board of the Clinton Global Initiative. The charitable foundation was organized by former President Bill Clinton in 2005.
The probe does not involve any allegations of impropriety by the Clinton Initiative, CNN reports.
A delegate to the National People's Congress, China's ceremonial legislature, Wang has also pledged $2 million to the Clinton effort, according to the cable network.
He also is a board member of New York University and has supported Harvard University and environmental issues in Florida.
Foreign nationals are barred from donating to federal, state or local elections, under U.S. law, CNN reports. The maximum penalties for violations include fines and imprisonment.
Wang is a U.S. permanent resident, a spokeswoman told CNN, making him eligible to contribute to McAuliffe's campaign.
Neither Wang nor the company involved has been notified of the probe by investigators, the spokeswoman said.
In 2014, former Virginia Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell was convicted of corruption charges involving $175,000 in loans and gifts he received from a donor and friend.
The conviction has been appealed to the Supreme Court.
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