Dr. Gal Luft, a key figure in House Republicans’ investigation of the Biden family’s international influence-peddling, faces federal charges of arms trafficking, operating as an unregistered lobbyist for China, and conspiring to flout US sanctions on Iran, according to a Manhattan indictment unsealed Monday.
Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York say Luft, 57, a dual US-Israeli citizen who was arrested in Cyprus this past February and went on the run after being released on bail prior to his extradition, agreed in 2015 to let former Hong Kong official Patrick Ho send $350,000 each year to Luft’s think tank, the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security.
In return, the indictment said, Luft agreed to “recruit and ‘educate’” a former high-ranking US official to “make public statements … which were in the interest of China.”
The official is not named in the indictment, but details about his work correspond to former CIA Director James Woolsey, who briefly worked for former President Donald Trump’s transition team after the 2016 election.
Ho similarly is not named in the indictment, but details in the court document match up to incidents in Ho’s life — most notably his arrest by US officials in November 2017 on bribery and money-laundering charges.
Luft has claimed the criminal case is a political hit job meant to stop him from testifying to the House Oversight Committee that the first family received payments from individuals with ties to Chinese military intelligence and that the Bidens had an FBI mole who shared classified information with their benefactors from the China state-controlled energy company CEFC.
“I, who volunteered to inform the US government about a potential security breach and about compromising information about a man vying to be the next president, am now being hunted by the very same people who I informed — and may have to live on the run for the rest of my life,” Luft told The Post in a video filmed in an undisclosed location last week.
At the time of the alleged arrangement with Luft, Ho headed up the China Energy Fund Committee, the non-governmental section of the CEFC China Energy conglomerate which had officers in Hong Kong and Virginia.
Around the same time, in late 2015, CEFC China Energy chairman Ye Jianming and executive director Jianjun Zang are believed to have met then-second son Hunter Biden for the first time.
Their partnership culminated in a little more than $5 million being wired to Biden-controlled accounts in August 2017.
The following month, Ho agreed to pay Hunter Biden a $1 million retainer to act as his legal counsel. During Ho’s trial, claims Luft, prosecutors removed all reference to Hunter and his family members from emails between Ho and Hunter associate Vuk Jeremic, a CEFC advisory board member, former Serbian foreign minister and ex-president of the United Nations General Assembly.
Ho — whom Hunter Biden once reportedly called the “f—ing spy chief of China” — was convicted and sentenced March 25, 2019, to three years in prison, after which he was deported.
Days later, Luft says, he met with six FBI and Justice Department officials in Brussels and told them the extent of the Biden connection with CEFC.
Among his claims was that the conglomerate was paying $100,000 a month to Hunter and $65,000 to first brother Jim Biden, in exchange for their FBI connections and use of the Biden name to promote China’s Belt and Road Initiative around the world — and that the money was being funneled through another Biden family associate, Rob Walker.
Luft also said that Joe Biden, then the former vice president, attended an early 2017 meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC, with Hunter and officials from CEFC — a sighting later confirmed by Walker, according to congressional testimony.
Luft added that Hunter had an FBI source named “One Eye” who had tipped off Ho and Ye that they were under investigation. (Ye has not been seen since his detention by Chinese authorities in early 2018.)
“The DOJ says I caused a payment of $6,000 a month to former CIA Director James Woolsey in order to put his name on an article I had ghostwritten for the China Daily newspaper,” Luft said last week of the indictment, which he claimed was filed days before this past November’s midterm elections.
“Why am I being indicted … for ghostwriting an innocuous article for which I received no payment, let alone from a foreign government, when the mother of all FARA cases, the Bidens’ systemic influence-peddling on behalf of foreign governments, for which they raked [in] millions, goes unpunished?”
The indictment also accuses Luft of trying to broker deals for Chinese companies to sell weapons to countries including Libya, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates without the license required by US law — as well as setting up meetings between Iranian officials and CEFC China to discuss oil deals.
Luft is further charged with lying about both those activities during the Brussels meeting with federal investigators.
“I was asked by a bona fide arms dealer, an Israeli friend, to inquire with a company I knew if they had an item and what would be the price of an item,” Luft told The Post last week. “This is where the conspiracy ended. No follow-up, no money, no brokering activity.”
Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.), who was preparing to interview Luft when he disappeared, has said the Israeli remains a “potential witness” in the panel’s investigation despite his fugitive status.
“We definitely want to hear more about his allegations and we want to see the notes from the [Brussels] meeting,” Comer told Fox News Monday night. “They sent six FBI [and DOJ officials], according to Gal Luft, to Brussels to interview him. Obviously they were concerned about something he had to say. There’s some level of credibility here.”