Date
22 August 2017
Leaked emails suggest Mark Simon (left) set up meetings for his boss Jimmy Lai (right) with some US right-wing politicians, including Sarah Palin. Photos: Apple Daily
Leaked emails suggest Mark Simon (left) set up meetings for his boss Jimmy Lai (right) with some US right-wing politicians, including Sarah Palin. Photos: Apple Daily

Jimmy Lai’s top aide admits his father had worked for CIA

Media mogul Jimmy Lai’s top aide Mark Simon admitted that his father had worked for the US Central Intelligence Agency for 35 years.

As for Simon himself, he hasn’t had any links with the US government since he stopped working for the United States Naval Investigative Service many years ago, he said.

Simon was a submarine analyst in the US Naval Investigative Service, the predecessor of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, from 1986 to early 1990s. After he finished his term, he hasn’t worked for any US government department, Simon said, according to Apple Daily.

“If I am still working for the US government, why the hell am I taking orders from Jimmy?” he said, referring to his current boss.

The comments came after leaked emails pointed to Lai’s close links with some US politicians.

The emails, sent to media organizations by an anonymous person Monday — the second time such leak happened in the past few weeks — showed exchanges between Simon and his boss Lai on various issues, including political matters.

The emails showed that the Next Media founder had funded democratic lawmakers, including “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, and also helped the Occupy Central group conduct its referendum in June. Simon is said to have handled the payments.

They said Simon’s father was connected to the US intelligence agency and that Simon, who was the former head of the Hong Kong branch of Republicans Abroad, had set up meetings between Lai and top US officials, according to a separate report by Ming Pao Daily.

He arranged a meeting between former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and Lai in 2009, according to one of the leaked emails. Palin was the Republican Party nominee for vice president in the 2008 US presidential election.

Simon had tried to approach Palin when she was about to attend an investment forum in September 2009, and in the end she met with Lai and Cardinal Joseph Zen at a secret location, according to the leaked documents cited by Ming Pao Daily.

The documents also revealed that when Lai’s son failed to extend a visa when he was staying in Los Angeles in 2009, Simon had sought help from a US official, who then asked Simon to provide the necessary documents to the embassy to process the application, the report said.

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