Texas death of Mitch McConnell’s sister-in-law called ‘suspicious’

by WorldTribune Staff, February 15, 2024

The death of Angela Chao, sister-in-law of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and a former board member of the state-owned Bank of China, is being called “suspicious” by some while others believe it was an accidental drowning.

Chao, 50, chief executive of a major shipping company, died at a ranch in Blanco County, Texas on Sunday after her Tesla became submerged in a pond. No cause of death has yet been reported.

Angela Chao

“Angela Chao’s death at a private Texas ranch in Blanco, County is suspicious,” said Kyle Bass, chief investment officer at the Texas-based asset management firm Hayman Capital Management. “Chao, almost certainly a high-ranking member of the Communist Party of China, … sat on the board of state-owned Bank of China, one of the five largest banks in China.”

A person familiar with the incident said there is a video of the incident and Texas state police are said to be investigating. Blanco County is near Austin.

The Blanco County Sherriff’s Office said Chao’s body was found on a private tract of land about 60 miles west of her home in Austin, the Austin American-Statesman reported on Thursday.

A law enforcement source told the outlet that Chao possibly drowned after her car was found submerged in a body of water on the property — located in a rugged area dotted with multimillion homes along rolling hills favored by many of the state’s wealthiest residents.

Chao was the sister of former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who is married to McConnell. Chao, the CEO of Foremost Group, lived in Austin with her husband, venture capitalist Jim Breyer — a part-owner of the Boston Celtics who has investments in China and an estimated net worth of $2.9 billion — and the 3-year-old son they shared.

Foremost Group, a major dry bulk shipping group with major business interests in China, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Foremost’s global fleet is known for shipping iron ore and soybeans.

The Bank of China said in a statement that Chao was former chair of the bank’s U.S. Risk and Management Committee.

Investigative journalist Peter Schweizer, in his 2018 book “Secret Empires,” contended that both McConnell and Elaine Chao benefited “from close ties to the Chinese military-industrial complex.” He also said the Chao family “reaped large profits thanks to the Chinese government.”

Chao joined the board of the Bank of China in 2016 and was added to the board of Chinese State Shipbuilding Corp. Holdings Ltd. part of a state-owned defense conglomerate.

“China’s communist government currently is engaged in a political crackdown on foreign companies in China. Several employees of U.S. and other non-Chinese companies have faced interrogations from police and detentions allegedly over foreign spying fears,” Washington Times security correspondent Bill Gertz reported.

Chao’s husband, James Breyer, has been a long-time venture capital investor in China. Breyer’s firm, Breyer Capital, joined with the Beijing-based IDG Capital Partners Co., Ltd., in 2016 to raise $1 billion to invest in Chinese companies, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Breyer, an early investor in Facebook, is also co-chairman of IDG Capital.

Last month, IDG Capital was added to the Pentagon’s updated list of Chinese military firms with operations in the United States, a list that is required under a provision of the fiscal 2021 defense authorization act.

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