Documents filed by Mr. Zhang’s lawyers in the high court show fresh accusations in the ongoing investigation which has seemingly been testing Beijing’s patience and raised suspicions of a retaliatory crackdown on Australians in China.
A task force headed by Australia’s intelligence agency ASIO is investigating if Mr Zhang, who was a senior policy adviser under Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane, was conspiring with CCP agents to influence Moselmane, the party and public opinion.
Australian Broadcasting Corp Investigations in September showed the probe had encompassed senior Chinese consular officials along with Chinese academics and journalists, sparking a furious response from Beijing.
The revelations have led to speculation against China around a ‘tit-for-tat’ crackdown, which saw a TV news anchor arrested and two Australians evacuated after questioning.
The documents filed in the High Court last week have now been published, revealing the first account of the investigation agreed upon by both parties. revealing that police allege they have found evidence of meetings between Mr Zhang and agents from the United Front Work Department (UFWD), known to be the CCP’s foreign influence unit.
“[His] computers were found to contain information indicating, on the AFP’s assessment, that Mr Zhang has on multiple occasions met and communicated with representatives of the United Front Work Department,” the documents state.
The documents also reveal that authorities found and seized “approximately $60,000 in cash contained in bundles of bank notes and in envelopes” from Mr Zhang’s home.