Mnuchin Met With HNA's Tan During Treasury-Led Reviews of Deals

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with one of China’s most powerful chief executives, Adam Tan of HNA Group, the conglomerate whose opaque ownership has drawn scrutiny from a U.S. national security panel reviewing bids to buy American companies.

Mnuchin met with Tan on June 19, five months after HNA agreed to buy investment company SkyBridge Capital LLC from Anthony Scaramucci. A supporter of President Donald Trump, Scaramucci was shedding business conflicts as he prepared to join the administration. 

Mnuchin Met With HNA's Tan During Treasury-Led Reviews of Deals

Mnuchin’s meeting with Tan was disclosed in his calendar for the first half of 2017, which was published on the Treasury Department’s website Wednesday. The schedule shows who met with Mnuchin but not what topics they discussed, which Treasury doesn’t release except for occasional readouts from meetings with foreign officials. The encounter took place at the Treasury and lasted 15 minutes, according to the calendar. A representative for HNA couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

National Security Review

HNA’s proposal to buy a stake in SkyBridge is awaiting approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., a panel of officials chaired by Mnuchin that examines acquisitions of American businesses for possible national security risks. HNA was accused in a lawsuit in December of giving false and inconsistent information to CFIUS about its ownership structure in another deal. HNA said the lawsuit was baseless. CFIUS doesn’t disclose or comment on its reviews.

Scaramucci served as the White House communications director for 10 days in August before being fired after a profanity-laced tirade was published in the New Yorker. He said last month in an interview with Bloomberg Radio he still believed the deal would close.

Bloomberg reported Wednesday that HNA told creditors it will seek to sell about 100 billion yuan in assets ($16 billion) in the first half of the year as part of plans to repay debts and stave off a liquidity crunch, according to people familiar with the matter.

HNA is under increasing pressure to sell assets because of liquidity challenges after the conglomerate borrowed heavily and spent tens of billions of dollars on investments in recent years. The acquisition spree transformed a little known airline into one of China’s biggest business behemoths, with large stakes in companies including Deutsche Bank AG and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.

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