A lawmaker in Australia is facing a probe for alleged links with China, local media reported.
Units of the Australian Federal Police and counter-insurgency force ASIO early on Friday raided the home and office of Shaoquett Moselmane, a New South Wales lawmaker from Australia’s Labor Party, ABC news reported.
The raids come amid worsening Australian-Chinese relations in recent weeks during which allegations and counter-allegations came from both sides.
The region’s Labor leader Jodi McKay said the party would suspend Moselmane’s membership.
“I was advised early this morning that there had been search warrants executed on the home of Mr. Moselmane,” she said.
On reports that the raid was linked to Chinese government agents infiltrating the MP’s office, she called these claims “dreadfully concerning, it’s terrible.”
The federal police and ASIO said they were “executing search warrants in Sydney this morning as part of an ongoing investigation.”
But Moselmane’s family called the lawmaker “a very respectable man” targeted by racism, and that the police would not find any evidence.
The lawmaker was born in Lebanon.
The family also accused Labor Party members of being “cowardly for not sticking up for” the lawmaker.
His brother Shawki Moselmane added that Moselmane had joined the Labor Party at the young age of 14 and it was “in his heart.”
“He’s got nothing to do with the Communist Party of China, he’s got nothing to do with China at all… They want to use him as a scapegoat for something,” Shawki said.
If charged, Moselmane will become first person to face legal action under the Australian Federal government’s legislation to counter foreign interference.
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