A Labor 'rising star' with links to Beijing has resigned amid claims of campaign donations from a tax scam

Photo: Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

A Sydney gold trader with close links to Beijing, who stood as a NSW senate candidate in last year’s federal election, has resigned from the party as details emerged of campaign donations to the ALP with links to a tax scam.

Fairfax Media reports that “Simon” Shuo Zhou, who was in the unwinnable seventh place on Labor’s senate ticket, helped raise $140,000 in campaign donations for the ALP from several gold dealers in a dispute with the tax office over an alleged GST scam.

Zhou resigned from his role as a Chinese multicultural officer at the ALP’s head office this week to “focus on other priorities” after Fairfax and the ABC’s Four Corners questioned the party about his links to the gold tax scam.

Zhou also featured in the Fairfax and ABC joint investigation into Beijing’s influence on Australian politics.

Meanwhile, the Australian Tax Office has been investigating several gold traders, including Zhou and several others linked to him, over a scheme that exploits a loophole in GST on gold. Many of those involved also gave donations to the ALP.

A Zhou company, Australian Coin Exchange, failed last year with $2.54 million owed to the ATO. An associate’s company was made insolvent owing $8 million while another gold dealer, Chris Wang, was ordered to pay $20 million to the ATO following a case in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, in which he claimed he bought gold ore worth $143 million in a Sydney car park at night.

The concerns over Zhou and his links to the ALP come as Labor senator Sam Dastyari was accused of being bought by the Communist Party when he opposed party policy over the South China Sea during the election campaign last year.

Foreign minister Julie Bishop told parliament yesterday that: “We now know that Senator Dastyari’s about-face on the South China Sea had a price tag attached to it, indeed a reported $400,000 was all it took.”

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