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G. Zhu Receives Large Unexplained Payments from the PRC

The Select Committee investigation uncovered documents and other records showing that, while Zhu was selling fraudulent kits and engaging in unknown pathogen-related activity, he was also receiving unexplained payments via wire transfer from PRC banks.[1] In a few years, these payments totaled over $1.3 million. This number may significantly underestimate the total amount he received via suspicious payments, because the Select Committee only has access to partial data and records. These payments do not accord with Zhu’s fraudulent activity, as he should have been paying money to PRC firms for the test kits and receiving payments from American individuals or companies who purchased the counterfeit test kits. These payments may be indicative of money laundering. These payments deserve continued scrutiny.

H. FDA Agents Arrest Zhu in Connection with Federal Charges Relating to Fraud and False Statements

On October 19, 2023, federal agents arrested Zhu on a criminal complaint for manufacturing and distributing misbranded medical devices in violation of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and for making false statements to the FDA.[2] In addition to confirming his identity, the criminal complaint discussed Zhu’s ties to the Reedley Biolab site and the business therein.[3] It also described Zhu’s multi-year fraudulent activities and false statements he made to federal agents in order to conceal his identity.

III. Public Health Risks, Safeguards, and the Federal Response

A. The Public Health Risks Posed by the Lab Are Unknown and, at This Point, Unknowable

With the exception of Ebola, the labeled pathogens (which CDC accepted at face value) are inconsistent with the operation of a bioweapons program. Most fall into Risk Groups 2 and 3, which may pose a high risk to individuals (i.e., infecting specific people with HIV, tuberculosis, or malaria through targeted attacks or contamination of a specific area) but are unlikely to cause a mass casualty event.

  1. See, e.g., analysis in II.D., supra. The Select Committee's investigative authorities are limited with respect to the potential investigatory steps related to financial records.
  2. The Select Committee notes that the Criminal Complaint charged Zhu with “manufacturing and distributing misbranded medical devices” in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 331(a) and (c). Charging instruments are charged in the conjunctive (“and”) but proven in the disjunctive (“or”). See Justice Manual, 227. Conjunctive and Disjunctive Elements. In addition, the Select Committee is unaware of whether Zhu had the devices manufactured abroad or elsewhere.
  3. Press Release, Department of Justice, Arrest Made in Central California Biolab Investigation, (Oct. 19, 2023); United States v. Jia Bei Zhu, No. 1:23-MJ-00123-SKO, (E.D. Cal. Oct. 18, 2023) (Criminal Complaint).

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