Dominion Voting Systems’ Potential Ties with China
Dominion Voting Systems has hardware made in China and its core infrastructure manager has a Chinese military background. On Oct. 8, 2020, its parent company received $400 million raised by UBS Securities LLC, where three out of four board members at the time were Chinese.
1. Mysterious ownership
Staple Street Capital Group LLC, a New York-based private equity firm, acquired Dominion Voting Systems Corp. in 2018. The maker of electronic voting systems has been at the center of election fraud claims since Nov. 3.
On Oct. 8, 2020, less than one month before the election, UBS Securities LLC helped Staple Street raise $400 million from investors for its third fund according to SEC records.
UBS Securities is a Swiss investment bank that owns 24.99% of UBS Securities Co LTD, a Chinese investment bank. The Chinese government owns 49% of UBS Securities Co LTD. The entity sending money to Dominion is UBS Securities LLC, a UBS subsidiary based in New York.
According to a Buyouts Insider article, while the fund was targeting $400 million, it closed on $520 million in financing. And SEC filings suggest that UBS helped to raise the majority of the capital.
Other than the Oct. 2020 transaction, Dominion received $200 million from UBS in 2014.
A NTD report on Dec. 5 showed that three board members of UBS Securities LLC appeared to be Chinese, including Luo Qiang, Ye Xiang, and Mu Lina, according to the company’s profile page on Bloomberg. They all have very close ties to Beijing-based UBS Securities Co. Ltd. Later, these names were taken down from the profile page, raising questions about whether the company made changes following media reports.
Screenshot of UBS Securities LLC’s company page on Bloomberg.com taken in Nov. 2020
Based on public information, Ye Xiang served on the board of both UBS Securities LLC and UBS Securities Co. Ltd. until his name was removed from both entities. Ye had been chairman of the board at UBS Beijing for more than 10 years. He previously worked at the Chinese government’s central bank, the state-owned Bank of China, as well as the Hong Kong government’s financial regulatory agencies. He is also the founder of a China-based asset management firm VisionGain Capital Limited.
Luo Qiang, another board member at UBS Securities LLC, also served on the board of UBS Beijing between 2004 and 2012.
Mu Lina, who was a board member of the New York subsidiary, worked as the director of wealth management funds and head of fund operations at UBS Beijing, based on public information. Mu was previously a board member of China TransInfo, a major surveillance camera producer in China. It provides big data and artificial intelligence to Chinese authorities. Its chairman is a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) member. Mu served as a board member at China TransInfo for the past six years until she left the position in September.
II. Hardware made in China
On Jan. 9, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing on election security featuring the top three voting machine vendors (ES&S, Dominion, Hart). It turned out that all three vendors use specific components that come from China. The final products manufactured by ES&S have “one of the nine programmable logic devices” that are sourced from a U.S.–based company and produced in its factory in China. Dominion and Hart use components from China in different parts of their products like glass screens or chip components like capacitors and resistors. President and CEO of Dominion Voting Systems John Poulos said it would not be feasible to manufacture these components in the U.S.
On Nov. 25, 2019, a report by NBC News raised concerns about voting machine hardware made in China. “Chinese manufacturers can be forced to cooperate with requests from Chinese intelligence officials to share any information about the technology and therefore pose a risk for U.S. companies, NBC News analyst Frank Figliuzzi, a former assistant director of the FBI for counterintelligence, said. That could include intellectual property, such as source code, materials, or blueprints. There is also the concern of machines shipped with undetected vulnerabilities or backdoors that could allow tampering.”
During a presentation at the Atlantic Council held in Oct. 2017, Harri Hursti, one of the lead programmers for the DEFCON Hacking Village, expressed his concerns with the chips of voting machines being made in China because it is impossible to audit them without knowing how the software inside was coded and how they were made.
III. Employees with Chinese military backgrounds
Andy Huang, who serves as Core Infrastructure Manager of Information Technology at Dominion Voting Systems, previously worked at China Telecom from 1998 to 2002.
National Pulse revealed this connection shown by Huang’s professional profile in a report on Nov. 25, 2020. Huang has since removed records of his employment at both Dominion and China Telecom from his LinkedIn profile.
The Department of Defense said China Telecom is owned or controlled by the Chinese military.
The Department of Justice flagged China Telecom for providing “opportunities for Chinese state-actors to engage in malicious cyber activity enabling economic espionage and disruption and misrouting of U.S. communications.”
Huang and other Chinese employees in Dominion are also subject to China’s National Intelligence Law passed in 2017, “any organization or citizen shall support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work according to law.“
Dominion Voting Systems has denied that it has foreign government ties.