HONG KONG, OCTOBER 31: Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai distanced himself and his newspaper, Apple Daily, from the funding of a report by a non-existent author to discredit US presidential candidate Joe Biden, saying his assistant had worked on the project.
NBC reported on Friday that a 64-page document making claims involving Joe Biden’s son and business deals in China were produced by a “fake intelligence firm” called Typhoon Investigations.
The author of the document is listed as Swiss security analyst Martin Aspen, which NBC said is a fabricated identity. Blogger and academic Christopher Balding took credit for contributing to the report and said it was commissioned by Apple Daily, according to the broadcaster.
Lai said in a tweet on Friday evening that he had nothing to do with the document but that his assistant, Mark Simon, had been involved with it.
“I’m sorry that Apple Daily was implicated by the NBC article. But Apple Daily has nothing to with it, I’ve nothing to do with it,” the Next Digital Ltd. founder said in the tweet. “My assistant Mark Simon now informed us that he worked with the project, although had not commissioned it.”
NBC said an Apple Daily spokesperson had informed it that the newspaper had worked with Balding on the document. The Hong Kong-based media company issued a statement Friday saying it had never commissioned Balding or any anyone else to write the document.
Simon used funds from Lai’s private company for the research, Lai said in a separate tweet. “It’s only US$10,000 so he didn’t have to have my approval,” he said.