Originally posted March 15, 2019
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, one of President Donald Trump's key negotiators in the U.S.-China trade talks, has pushed Beijing to grant the American film industry greater access to its markets.
But now, Mnuchin’s ties to Hollywood are raising ethical questions about his role in those negotiations. Mnuchin had been a producer in a raft of successful films prior to joining the Trump administration.
In 2017, he divested his stake in a film production company after joining the White House. But he sold that position to his wife, filmmaker and actress Louise Linton, for between $1 million and $2 million, The New York Times reported on Thursday. At the time, she was his fiancée.
That company, StormChaser Partners, helped produce the mega-hit movie “Wonder Woman,” which grossed $90 million in China, according to the Times. Yet, because of China’s restrictions on foreign films, the producers received a small portion of that money. Mnuchin has been personally engaged in trying to ease those rules, which could be a boon to the industry, according to the Times.
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